Last month, you couldn’t move for headlines about Shia LaBeouf. First he turned up at the Berlin Film Festival with a paper bag reading “I AM NOT FAMOUS ANYMORE” over his head; then he walked out of a Nymphomaniac press conference (but not before quoting Eric Cantona), then he set up shop at a gallery in Los Angeles in a performance entitled #IAMSORRY. For six days he sat in the small gallery space, wearing a tuxedo and the now-infamous paper bag, crying in front of visitors.
People lined up to meet LaBeouf; some took selfies, some got aggressive, some shook his hand and thanked him. Was he having a breakdown? Was he rebranding himself? Or was he just trying, in his own way, to become an artist? Luke Turner and Nastja Rönkkö have some of the answers. The two contemporary artists, both of whom have exhibited extensively in Europe, were Shia’s collaborators on #IAMSORRY.
According to the duo, LaBeouf approached them after encountering Turner’s website on metamodernism, which Turner describes as “an age characterised by oscillations between modernist and postmodernist values”. As he puts it, it’s the defining impulse of our age: a desire to be “both ironic and sincere in the same moment”. #IAMSORRY, the final product of their collaboration, didn’t just take place at the Los Angeles gallery – it also played out on LaBeouf’s Twitter; in Berlin; at a London College of Fashion seminar, where he read Guy Debord to students; and even via skywriting. It all culminated with LaBeouf sobbing his eyes out in front of strangers.
In short, it’s a multi-platform meditation on celebrity and vulnerability, and it probably couldn’t have happened at any other time but the present. Turner and Rönkkö speak exclusively to Dazed about the tabloid-fuelled media circus around LaBeouf – and why they intend to keep on working with him.
You can read the full interview here.