#ALLMYMOVIES by LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner
A day after the conclusion of LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner’s #ALLMYMOVIES, NewHive co-founder and CEO Zach Verdin sat down with the artists and reflected on the project. In this first published interview since #ALLMYMOVIES commenced, they discuss human connection, shared secrets, the flawed relationship between language and art, and of course, pizza.
LaBeouf: I can’t articulate how big this was. I don’t even know yet. All I know is I feel the weight of it. I’m walking through the streets and I’m smiling, like a cartoon character…I felt extraordinary support…Once you press play on your life and you open up and there’s that vulnerability and not only are people getting the artistic side of you but they’re getting the human side of you, watching that, you’ve shared everything. And the fact that you can walk out of there and people are still nodding at you and giving you a thumb’s up…it’s something else. I really don’t even know what it is yet, because I haven’t sat on it or done any writing or thought about it at all. I just know if I can explain a feeling, I feel lighter today. I feel love today. It’s as simple as this: I used to order my coffee and when they’d say, “Hey what’s your name?” I’d say James, because I didn’t want them to say my name.
Turner: Someone walked up in the gallery we were in today and said, “Hey, are you Shia?” and normally every time we’re together it’s like “no no no.” But for the first time ever today, “Hey are you Shia?” “Yeah.”
LaBeouf: I would never claim my name. And today it’s just something different, it’s as simple as that. And it’s not through thought it’s just “that’s me” and I’m cool with that. It’s the first time really in my life, before the other shows, because all of the other shows never changed my coffee order name. This shit changed my coffee order name, which in turn, changed my sense of self.
Turner: I think we really needed someone really great to work with. We need that.
Rönkkö: You need nice, good people around you, that’s what created the atmosphere in the theatre.
Turner: People you can trust. Who have no agenda. There was no agenda here. If you do things that way then everyone wins, if you’re not asking for things, just being cool about it. Like even designing the page, it looked better for us having the NewHive logo in the corner.
LaBeouf: Yes, aesthetically.
Verdin: Yeah that was amazing. I was really surprised to see that you put that on there. That was a moment for me when you put the logo on and Luke, you said, “I like the color.”
Turner: And it makes us feel a part of something as well. Otherwise it makes you seem arrogant.
#ALLMYMOVIES by LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner
LaBeouf: It’s just lonely…all I really want to do is be a part of…I feel distance in the movie game, because I don’t do it the same way they do it…and then you feel exiled from life, because you’re some celebrity character or a fuck up, and then you get in part of this art crowd and you’re like “Oh this where all the people who feel like outsiders go” and then you go to the outsider club and you’re an outsider in the outsider club. But then when I looked at the [event] poster, not even the site, but the poster and saw NewHive was right there I was just like wow this shit’s official. I have respect for a lot of the NewHive artists. I go to NewHive, I like their work. My favorite digital artist is on your guys’ site and she showed up at our show. And I was trying to kill my fanboy but I was like wow this is fucking huge. May [Waver] is my favorite digital artist. Period. She’s affected me more than any of this other arty shit I’ve seen. I listen to her Embedded Lullabies on my own time, not for a show-off, not for a diatribe, learning art, none of that. I listen to her because I like listening to her work and watching it. It’s peaceful, like some kind of meditation. So when she’s at the show it just felt like fuck this is crazy. And I walked back into the theater like, “You’re a part of this…you’re part of this club that you’ve always wanted to be a part of.”…Me just trying to intellectualize it now, I don’t have the words. My feelings, though, didn’t lie to me.
Sunny Garden by May Waver
Turner: We don’t want to intellectualize performance art. What we’re doing, we don’t even call it art, we just call it projects. The point is that it hits you, it hits you here, you don’t even have to be able to articulate it. Sure the theory and everything is great. I understand giving it a language, deconstructing it, working out what’s going on. But you don’t need that to experience it.
Verdin: One of the big things that really landed for me in this is that you’re using means to produce and distribute the work that are accessible to anyone.
Turner: We thought about it so hard, how it was going to work.
LaBeouf: We literally drew graphics, drew little men. We went all the way with it.
Verdin: What is the criteria, within the “institution of art,” for being in the art world or for being an artist?
Turner: It’s very simple for me. As soon as you say something isn’t art, that’s elitist. So that means anyone can be an artist. Being a professional artist is one thing, but the “art world”, the whole point of having an art world, is exclusionary. It’s elitist.
Rönkkö: I don’t think so, I just think it’s like if someone talks about industries, like the fashion industry. Of course there are parallel and overlapping art worlds, exclusive and elitist as well.
Turner: Depends how formal or informal, but I find the higher up you get, when people refer to the art world they mean a certain type of art world. They don’t mean anyone who’s a professional artist even. I mean there’s a lot of unfashionable painters who are professional artists, who are maybe even mainstream as well, but aren’t what we would know as the art world. They would call that “fine art” or something, which is a euphemism. So it’s an exclusive club.
Verdin: How do you think the art world filters that?
LaBeouf: If you went to art school.
Verdin: It comes back to these sort of gatekeepers in the education institution.
LaBeouf: Someone saying they need to intellectualize art is saying “I need to hold onto the keys.” That’s all they’re saying.
Rönkkö: It’s already in there. You don’t have to intellectualize performance art. Performance art is already intellectual in a different way, physical, tactile way. For me its different kind of intelligence, just like emotional intelligence, or intuition.
Turner: The difficulty of a work can be so dead simple, but we don’t have a language to express that. That’s the most difficult. Like, why am I suddenly moved by this thing?
#ALLMYMOVIES by LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner
Verdin: With this project, the reach that it got right out the gate, it’s almost as if the journalists who were trying to separate Shia from the work, call him crazy and sort of be done with it, it was almost as if the masses were just speaking up so loudly that by the end of the project a lot of them changed their tune.
Turner: Such warmth.
Verdin: It was almost as if they reached this point where they couldn’t lie to themselves. The initial voice that they had about it, that fit this mold of what they were expecting, got drowned out by the response of the people.
LaBeouf: The same goes for actors. Like, you need to study Stanislavsky to be a great actor. You need to read Chekhov, the great plays. No. It’s like boxers. These are ordinary men with extraordinary determination. You’re not born an artist, or everyone is. You’re not born an actor, or everyone is. It’s about drive, a dedication level to this very specific thing. Roofers, pizza guys, anyone can be an artist. Anybody who’s great at anything. Making pizza can be an art.
Rönkkö: We were getting pizza in London once and this guy had a massive “I love pizza” tattoo on his neck. He was so dedicated.
LaBeouf: That guy is an artist. If you eat his pizza you get it. But you gotta eat the pizza. If you’re over here and just staring at the pizza you don’t get it. You see that it might be aesthetically brilliant, you might even smell it from here–
Verdin: Or you might be like this dude’s fucking crazy, he’s got “I love pizza” tattooed on him.
Turner: Exactly. And you haven’t tried his pizza yet.
#ALLMYMOVIES by LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner
Verdin: So this played with the experience of performance art, because even the journalist who was sitting wherever the fuck they were sitting, trying to do the standard takedown, even if they weren’t there, the live stream component—because you guys were using tools that other people use to communicate—they could experience it as though they were there. One of the things really came through for me about you guys as artists was the way you would come together, have a discussion about something and stick to it. What really stood out was turning away the celebrities who were showing up and wanted to cut the line.
LaBeouf: It would be cool as fuck to have Kid Cudi sitting in your movie theater. He’s Kid Cudi, I like his stuff, but none of that shit was about me when we were in there. I’m there and I’m in it, but that would change the whole environment, and then the show becomes about something totally different. In that room it was egalitarian. Yes, I was being stared at and I’m the focal point and the pointing is happening, but the pointing is happening for me too. If we’re all pointing, then we’re on the same level. Yes it’s a film festival where you’re watching all of my movies, but a lot of this stuff—especially Even Stevens…the Even Stevens Movie was interesting, it’s all of our childhood. It’s mine and it’s yours. It wasn’t just me smiling like that. If you look at the freeze frames, everyone is smiling like wow, I remember Beans. I remember that stupid-ass song. We were all looking at our yearbook together and we’re all in the yearbook. It felt like family, we were sitting there like a high school class. These are strangers, people I never met before. You don’t leave a museum friends with people. One guy was telling me he had just moved to New York three months prior and didn’t know nobody…he said he had 13 new friends, 13 new contacts of people he wanted to hang out with….The goal walking in is to highlight the connectivity of the networks.
Turner: Not just to highlight it, but to engage it.
LaBeouf: When you simplify it and take away all the art shit waffle talk, that’s really what it comes down to.
Turner: We don’t add any art shit waffle talk.
LaBeouf: No, we don’t, but when you sit with an interviewer and they want to do the art waffle to justify their existence, then you gotta play the game…But when you’re sitting in the theater and a person leaves and the crowd cheers, or when I get up to go take a piss and they’re cheering, and you know that the cheer is about the person who’s next in line, they’re not cheering for themselves 40-people back, they’re cheering for the guy they know they’ve been sitting with in line for seven hours and they’re watching his face as he smiles down the stairs. That’s the art. That’s the reason we did the project.
Verdin: Do you make an analogy for the work? Luke compares it to sports. Do you have something you compare it to?
Rönkkö: No I don’t like that. I don’t think that way. Maybe performance art festivals, like underground, smaller independent artist run festivals. We sometimes call ourselves performance art family. Its one of those parallel art worlds I guess. I love that world also because it lack that art waffle talk we mentioned earlier. Its very warm, connected, supportive place to create. Its a world I was not really aware when I went to art school, because it’s not part of that elitist, exclusive art world.
Verdin: Is the work about connection for you too?
Rönkkö: Yeah, a lot. All my work is about connection. This project in particular connected people offline and online.
#ALLMYMOVIES by LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner
Verdin: Something that’s interesting with NewHive, the company used to be called A Reflection Of, that was the name that described this four-year conversation that eventually led into the ideas that went into NewHive. And at one point it was really all about reflection, and that was sort of how do you create a space online to encourage reflection? That, for us, trying to find ourselves in our 20s, was all about seeking things in a variety of different ways that would give us that opportunity. A big epiphany we had, which may be obvious in retrospect, was that expression creates space for reflection. That you put something out and you share that, it creates an opening for someone that ripples back in the form of new inspiration or outlooks on life…You make all these movies, put all that out in the world, did you get any of that sitting in the theater reflecting back?
LaBeouf: Yeah, I mean…it’s very hard to reflect on yourself when you’re putting nothing forth and it’s happening in here…it becomes smaller or it becomes bigger but it becomes something else once you get it out. If I watched those movies by myself in a room I’d still be in here, there’d be no putting forth on my end, there’d be no vulnerability. But when I do it with the room, it’s handball, and I’m throwing it all over the place. I never really looked around the room until the last couple of movies. And when I started looking around the room, no one was looking at me. The last couple of movies it became more than what it started as. When it first came in, Man Down is a movie that hasn’t been released yet, we just showed it at two film festivals, and no one was watching the movie. Everyone who came into the theater sat down and stared at me. And I felt it. And then they left with-in ten minutes, because they expected me to do some high wire act. That’s not what we were there to do. Towards the middle you caught a bit of both, people would laugh when I laughed, so they were still hyper-aware, I would laugh at things that weren’t necessarily jokes and then the room would start laughing. But by the third day, nobody in the room was focused on me. Not one person was looking at me and I thought, “Wow this has nothing to do with me and nothing to do with the movies.” Because we’re watching a movie that’s dubbed in Russian, none of us understand what the fuck this is about, it has to do with the fact that we all got through this and it became something else. You can’t really articulate it and say “Oh, it was for this it was for that.” It was for the event that was created. And when we all got through it, it wasn’t just an applaud for me…it was like this cool little pause in life where all of the hubbub and all of the Bzzzz of running around and the busy-ness and the phones shut down and everything got really intimate and quiet. For what reason? No one knows. We still don’t fully know. But it created something that is bigger than all of us, all of the movies and all of the crowd. It’s connection. We were all connected for that moment. More-so for this show, then any other show we’ve done.
Turner: Also people watching it in bars, or people having it on a side screen while they’re working, it is adding more and more people to this family.
LaBeouf: And creating. People were sketching and passing off poetry and making wire sculptures. They created the plot.
Rönkkö: One of the most interesting parts of the show for me was Even Stevens, because that’s not my childhood. I didn’t know the show before meeting Shia, like two years ago. The room went crazy during that movie and just the atmosphere of the room made me so happy and feeling connected to everyone. Sometimes there were a few moments where I was like, “Wait why am I laughing?” This is not even funny, but it is because everyone’s laughing. I was nostalgic because everyone else was nostalgic. I was feeling the feelings with them and through them.
Turner: I was really emotional during that. I was feeling this kind of weird nostalgia for something that I’d never seen before, because there was this nostalgia in the room, which had something to do with the tiredness of the people going in, you have no barrier.
LaBeouf: There’s no intellectual explanation for why when you yawn I yawn. There’s something magical that goes down. I’m sure there’s science but there’s also something beyond the science.
Turner: I call that the magic of the world.
Rönkkö: We are pack animals.
LaBeouf: Not just in art but in songs, in movies, in theater, what makes it great is when there’s a shared secret in the room…And what happened in that room for those couple of days was we all shared something, we knew it to be true, we didn’t need to explain it to one another, and that made it awesome.
Turner: There was one point, I don’t know if you noticed it, where the audience suddenly realized that you were in the same boat as them.
LaBeouf: I think it started after Lawless. When the movies started getting shit. I’m telling you. When the movies started getting shit and they knew that I felt it too, it was the shared secret that we all had…not just because I’m in it…I’m in the same boat as you, I’m a viewer in this and this is hard for me to watch too. In fact, I’m gonna go take a nap ‘cause I hate myself, not ‘cause I’m tired, but because I’m dying right now. And nobody had a problem with that. When I woke up an hour later and watched
Transformers 2 they could feel when I sunk in my seat. That’s not a performative thing. That’s me going through some kind of crisis. And I’m not the only one. I remember right before I fell asleep I looked next to me and the guy next to me was falling asleep. You can see it on the screenshot we’re both asleep. And the guy behind us is asleep.
#ALLMYMOVIES by LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner
Rönkkö: I think it’s almost like synching of emotions. I did this performance where I was holding people’s hands and we couldn’t see each other. And the people who stayed for a long time, our heartbeats synched. It was such a strange magical experience. If you hold someone’s hand for half an hour you will feel it, their pulse synchs. Slowly, but it does. Same thing happens with emotions.
LaBeouf: We were laughing at things that weren’t jokes onscreen.
Turner: Or the utter sexism of Dumb and Dumberer. Sexist, racist, homophobic, it was utterly deplorable.
LaBeouf: We were all feeling it. There wasn’t one person in that movie who didn’t feel it.
Turner: Except maybe this one guy who thought it was the funniest film ever. That was very strange.
Verdin: For me, one of my favorite moments of the experience, was sitting in the ticket booth. I don’t know why I just loved sitting in the ticket booth, watching the people about half way through the line, the Angelika employees had left, they had given us the key. For me it was a bit of a safe zone, which is what I like about the internet, is that I can be sort of removed a bit from it…really put myself out there on my own terms…people would come up and ask questions and I would flip the mic on and get to talk to them through this sort of glass. One of the things that happened was these girls called and they were young and were like “We’re going to send a pizza!” and to look out for it. The pizza shows up and I take it downstairs and put it in the break room. You were still on a film. And about 15 minutes later they call me and they say, “Did you get the pizza? Did you give it to Shia?” And I said, “Yeah, I put it down in the break room. I’ll definitely go down and let them know that you delivered a pizza when it’s over.” And then they called me about ten minutes later, “Can you actually just like bring the pizza down the aisle and like give it to him.” And you could tell these girls, I don’t know how old they were, it was like a medium pizza from Dominoes, but they were sitting around the phone, watching this live stream, just like all they wanted was to see you have the pizza. So I went there and I said to you, like, “Hey man, these girls gave you the pizza.”
LaBeouf: Pepperoni jalapeño. Amazing.
Verdin: I don’t know if you realized this but there was a moment where you walked back in the theater and you sat down and you were finishing the piece of pizza. I don’t know if you were consciously doing that—
LaBeouf: No. I was just eating pizza.
Verdin: For me, I got chills, goosebumps, in that, because all I was thinking about was these girls, watching that live stream, knowing that they had just bought you that pizza. And now they’re connected to it too.
LaBeouf: Not just me, but that pizza went around the room. It was the first time I had really looked at people. I remember saying, “Hey man, you want pizza?” and they looked at me like, “Holy shit. Yeah I want pizza.” And they took the pizza and everybody started sharing pizza around the room and we were all sitting there eating pizza that these girls had ordered, we don’t know nothing about the girls who ordered it, everyone was enjoying a meal together. There was a point where I remember eating the pizza and this guy in the back got the pizza and he was like, “Fuck yeah! Pizza!” Everybody giggled. It was humanizing for me.
Turner: It was nice seeing the inner workings of the movie theater. Kind of like the kids got the keys to the museum. That kind of feeling. We’re doing something in a venue that doesn’t normally do this kind of thing. I mean no one normally does this kind of thing. This is not a normal set up for anything. And it’s like how do we organize this? But the line kind of organizes itself. They have a system in their head, they work it out, very quickly you have a little mini society going on. And we’ve set the rules for it kind of. Minimum security. We want them to kind of self-organize.
LaBeouf: There was one point where someone came up and took a selfie. And this woman said, “Hey you can’t do that it’s against the rules.” And everybody thought I wasn’t talking. But I said, “There are no rules in here.” it was important that we didn’t set limitations, like you come in for ten minutes so everybody can get a shot at it. It wasn’t that. We picked the smallest theater in that entire space for a very specific reason. it wasn’t to create a line outside like some nightclub. Keep people out so you can publicize, “Wow this thing.” We were already publicized. And the theater stayed packed the entire time. The fact that it was so small, you’re feeling people’s arms. You’re feeling people brush your head as they move past you.
Turner: There was body heat.
Rönkkö: Because there would be a line even if it was the biggest theater. But you can’t get away from certain things. I would love if everyone could come in.
LaBeouf: It amplified it being in a small room like that. Everyone in that theater could throw popcorn at me. See I thought it was going to be—
Turner: Really, you thought people were going to throw popcorn at you?
LaBeouf: Yeah, I always go into these things every time—and this is my self-hate at work—what if they light my hair on fire? And Luke’s like, “Nobody is going to light your hair on fire.” But this is a genuine fear of mine. I think people hate me. That’s just what goes on in my head. And all I want to do is be liked. Men, women, people don’t really want a lot. A person to talk to, and not have problems with nobody, I think it gets really simple when you get to the bottom of it. For an actor, for a fireman, it don’t matter, you just want to be liked. You don’t even necessarily want to be liked or loved. You just don’t want anyone to hate you. I walked out loving myself. Not in some grandiose, you’re fucking awesome way, but in like, you’re a part of a community. You’re a part of this human thing. You’re in this human thing. I’ve always felt as though, “I’m just an animal in this human thing. And I’ll play the human game. I’ll wear the human mask.” But coming out of there, it’s the first time I’ve actually felt part of this —it was very humanizing for me. I walked out loving myself. And I don’t think I was the only one to feel that.
Turner: That’s why I compare it to the instantaneous nature of a crowd at a football match feeling that shared emotion, you know, you win together, you lose together, it doesn’t really matter when you have that heartbreaking defeat, it’s like that heartbreaking defeat is shared by everyone so it brings everyone together.
LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner at #ALLMYMOVIES, courtesy of Lindsay Howard
Verdin: Do you feel like then it sustains over time? Like eventually you build up a group of people who you go with to watch a football match?
Turner: Yeah, definitely. I mean I used to go every week and you have these people next to you, total strangers, you don’t know their names, but you know them, you know them better than you know your best friends, and you talk to them and you never even ask their names. And then you realize you’ve been going there ten years and it’s kind of too awkward to ask them their names now that you know them so well. And you probably have nothing in common with them in life other than that you have this shared thing.
Rönkkö: One thing I noticed is that we organically became a collective. Like at the beginning everyone was dealing with the technical stuff. And then by the end we were kind of synched. If I went upstairs to get Internet or something I was like oh shit I should be there and then have a break with him in five minutes. We started to do everything at the same time, breaks, sleep and so on. Technically I didn’t need to be there but I really needed to be there.
LaBeouf: You did need to be there, I mean I needed you there. Especially when it started. When it started I had no friends in the room. When it started I was again an outsider…I’ve never felt more alone than when this project started. Even with #IAMSORRY I had a bag mask. With this there was nowhere to go.When it started there was no light at the end of the tunnel…three days I mean you’re in there forever. I honestly didn’t know if I would make it through. So to see your heads pop up in the back or in the occasional glance at the camera was sustenance until the group galvanized, until the group built itself and then I had that feeling from the room. And once I had that feeling from everyone in the room, after Lawless, the movies got harder but the experience got easier.
Turner: Everyone carried each other. The audience changed organically, some people left, and when they left it was like they were passing the baton.
LaBeouf: Every time I would walk back from the bathroom there would be a couple of people who were like, “Ok here we go. We’re in it again. We’re in for another one, let’s put our seat-belts on.” It’s the same kind of thing that happens when you’re in an airplane and turbulence hits, you look around.
Rönkkö: You’re all together.
LaBeouf: When the turbulence clears you even ask the guy next to you who doesn’t have any more information than you, “What the fuck was that?” But you have this intrinsic human thing that’s going on…that’s my analogy for what went down, it’s the feeling after turbulence on an airplane when everyone looks around like wow we just did it. We survived…And no one really knows what the turbulence was. No one really knows why we were sitting in that theater, including me. That’s the feeling.
Rönkkö: It was the first thing we did where people didn’t come up to me like, “Are you an assistant working for Shia?” It was what it was. It was kind of clear, like, all of you created a collective experience…all of the emails and tweets I got it was kind of a surprise, because it’s never been like that.
Verdin: For me it hit me when I showed up on the first day of the performance, and I thought I was showing up early, and I was walking down the street and I saw this character sitting on this red pipe and I looked at him and it was Shia, and one of the first things he said to me was “I’m nervous” and I saw it in your eyes.
Turner: When I first started talking to Shia and he said straight away, let’s do something, let’s collaborate, gallerist friends were like “Stay away from this. Don’t go near it.” They were so closeminded, I was really surprised.
Rönkkö: The art world is closeminded.
LaBeouf: The world world is closeminded.
Turner: But that seemed like an elitist thing as well. Like, he’s not an artist. Yeah you have this gallerist who gives off this air of the edgy, open-minded gallerist, but at the same time—
Rönkkö: They’re scared.
LaBeouf: The movie world is just as elitist. I get emails from people in the movie world, people telling me, “You gotta maintain mystery.”…but truth will always find its way out there. Sincerity is the new punk rock.
Verdin: For me, too, we’re just a small company trying to like—I don’t have a formal degree in this work. We’ve just sort of existed doing our thing—
Turner: A degree in what? What would you have a degree in?
Verdin: Exactly. And there were two things that made us want to do this with you, one was our initial call over a year ago, how much you knew about NewHive. And then you said something like, “the thing I like about NewHive is that I don’t know what it is.”
Turner: Not just trying to pigeonhole.
Verdin: And for me that is one of the best signals. So much of our work is about common ground, it’s about connection. I can’t tell you how much I agree with the idea that sincerity is the new punk, because that’s something I’ve always struggled with. I’m a sensitive person and I care a lot about what people think of me, and NewHive has really brought me out of my shell in a way that has given me a space that I can just do my thing in my little part of it. I don’t feel like anything other than just a person who uses NewHive, that’s really how I feel on a day to day…I was curious, like why did you even want to do it with NewHive? Why us?
LaBeouf: I thought “Who’s crazy enough to put this shit on with us? Who’s gonna give us the freedom that we don’t have anywhere else?” The whole concept of the show was to put the show out there for the world. I was looking through my emails, my fan letters, like when I sent a fan letter to NewHive…and I got love in return…and for the guy who’s not the arty guy, there was such pride in it, I’m such a little kid, it was like, “Hey look who I met.”…Also we had gotten in touch at some point with May [Waver] and her collaborators and I remember them telling me about their NewHive experience and them telling me that they had creative freedom and how they had this outlet and were small fish in this big pond now, and how NewHive had opened their whole practice up. Now they were at South by Southwest doing this other stuff while we were doing it and they’re not in Transformers movies. I thought wow, that’s fucking awesome, here are these kids straight out of school and they’re on this platform that I would be grateful to be on. I catalogued that and thought this isn’t elitist art, these are just regular people.
Rönkkö: It was like, wow, someone actually believes in us…I didn’t understand what it was either, it was this platform and it was mysterious and that was attractive to me and difficult, because I was trying to box it in my head, like what is this thing?
LaBeouf: I also have Newhives that nobody knows about that I send to Luke and Nastja on the hush that are under pseudonyms…I remember sitting back after making my first hive and going, “Wow, look you just made a website all by yourself little guy.” It was a trophy that I go to by myself. When I was feeling low or unaccomplished I’d go to my Newhive and watch it pop up and I’d refresh it again and watch it pop up again. It’s a self-hug.
Turner: That’s how the web became popular, like Geocities, the first animated gifs, it was like, “Look I made this spinning thing.”
LaBeouf: You still take pride in it, he still shows us his website he made before he went to art school. He’s proud of it.…Look I’m not a guitarist by any stretch of the imagination and the first song I ever learned was Smoke on the Water, everyone knows smoke on the water, it’s three chords, one string, but it doesn’t matter. You were able to play a song. So for me NewHive was a bit like that…just the fact that I was able to press publish and it existed…and that other people could share it is huge.
Turner: Because that joy had been taken out of Facebook, because it’s so generic. You didn’t feel like you made it…But your move is to present people with a blank white page and that is a bold move. In a way that’s kind of analogous to what we do in our performance: we’re giving people the tools, we’re saying, “Here’s a blank page. We don’t know what’s going to happen.” We set up the framework for the show, the container, this performative space, that’s why the theater, everything, the logistics of it are so important, because you make the space that you think is going to be the perfect container for it. But once it starts, what happens in that, we don’t know. But so far they evolve into these beautiful things. When you give people a blank space or a blank page, never underestimate people’s creativity. If you give people that, they will surpass your expectations…far better than one year of one art school can do. It’s like you’ve made the whole world a fucking art school.