Now You Can Pick Up the Phone and Ask Shia LaBeouf About His Performance Art

The Hollywood actor takes his performance art to Liverpool, and you can join.

Shia LaBeouf.
Shia LaBeouf.

Have you ever wanted to pick up the phone and call Shia LaBeouf? Well, now your dream can become a reality.

#TOUCHMYSOUL is the latest project by the LaBeouf, Luke Turner, and Nastja Säde Rönkkö and takes place as part of “Follow,” an exhibition exploring our relationship with social media at the Foundation for Art and Creative Technology (FACT), in Liverpool.

For the next four days anyone can pick up the phone (+44151-808-0771) and speak to the collective in a four way conversation. If you are feeling shy and just want to have a look, the project is also being live streamed at touchmysoul.net.

Hello? Shia LaBeouf speaking. <br /> Photo: via touchmysoul.net

Hello? Shia LaBeouf speaking from Liverpool.
Photo: via touchmysoul.net

#TOUCHMYSOUL follows in the footsteps of their other performative and interactive projects such as #METAMARATHON, #INTRODUCTIONS, and #IAMSORRY. The collective’s latest piece, #ALLMYMOVIES—which offered viewers the opportunity to watch the Hollywood actor watching his entire film oeuvre (which took 72 hours)—garnered more support than the usual sarcasm.

shia-labeouf-meta-marathon

Luke Turner, Shia LaBeouf, and Nastja Säde Rönkkö, #METAMARATHON (2014).
Photo: Courtesy the artists.

The collective’s inclusion in the “Follow” exhibition, which features up and coming digital contemporary artists like Constant Dullart and Cécile B. Evans, shows a slow but steady acceptance of their headline grabbing performance practice by a cautious art world. Their direct and self-deprecating approach—especially in the case of LaBeouf—has won them fans all over the web, both inside and outside the art world.

“ […] As soon as you say something’s not art you have become an elitist,” Turner told the Guardian. “Our work is not in any way dumbed down, but it’s not translated into some kind of elitist language. It is what it is.”

LaBeouf, who was encouraged to take up performance art by controversial film director Lars Von Trier, is so enamored with digital communication that he has had the three dots that simbolize a message being written in Apple’s iMessenger app tattooed on his hand, according to the Guardian.

“To use technology to connect with people is fucking magical,” LaBeouf proclaimed in conversation with the Guardian. “You know when you’re texting somebody and those three dots pop up? There’s so much magic happening in your anticipation, in your waiting for that response, and if the three dots go away you feel like, ‘Argh!’,” he explained.

According to them, this is the first time that LaBeouf is joined by his collaborators in a live performance, and he must be having a brilliant time as the public ring in while the entire process is documented on a live web chat.

Screenshot from the livestream of Shia LaBeouf watching his entire film oeuvre at New York's Angelika Film Center in November 2015.

Screenshot from the livestream of Shia LaBeouf watching his entire film oeuvre at New York’s Angelika Film Center in November 2015.

“I always tell them: what if someone’s going to set my hair on fire, what if someone comes in with a mallet and hits me in the face?” LaBeouf explained to the Guardian. “The more we do this, the less fear I have about the public.”

He says this despite having been assaulted in a previous performance. This time, in any case, there is thankfully a low risk of harm, as contact with the public is being conducted via the telephone.

#TOUCHMYSOUL takes place online though December 14, 2015. “Follow” is on view at FACT, Liverpool, from December 11, 2014 – February 21, 2016.


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