Does a three-day livestream of LaBeouf watching( and sleeping through) his films critique our obsession with access to the stars or further facilitate it?
Shia LaBeouf is watching every film hes ever appeared in, back to back in reverse chronological order, with the resulting quiet sight streamed live for the 72 or so hours it takes to complete the marathon movie conference. At the time of writing hes having a little remainder; every now and again his eyelids drift south and his head lolls a little.
The world loves a hashtag, and when it combinations with the alternately fascinating and stultifying work of actor-turned-performance artist LaBeouf, a perfect blizzard of social media swirls into being. Some people on Twitter are examining LaBeoufs posted order of services, so that they can watch his films at the same day he watches them. This attains #ALLMYMOVIES wholly in tune with the social media and celebrity news cycle panopticon. Unlike other endurance performances, the act of witnessing is not limited solely to audience present at the work, in this case the 50 or so people who can fit in the New York cinema at any time.
Its that aspect that attains LaBeoufs tentative steps towards conceptual art fascinating, even if he hasnt yet managed to find an original voice( almost all of his performances so far have faced allegations, some more compelling than others, of plagiarism ).
He has, in a way, built blatant rip-off merchantry his raison detre , which may not win him many fans among intellectual property reformers, but does dedicate his work a certain 21 st century unrepentant appropriation frisson. Its an artistic mission statement somewhere between Richard Princes borrowed Instagram portraits and Mars Attacks memorable tagline Nice Planet. Well Take It ! Hes a content curator who utilizes his body as the medium of dissemination.
LaBeoufs desire is front and centre in his performance runs; its mainly a passion for love, and nowhere more so than in #ALLMYMOVIES. Thats an facet of certain modern art, especially performance art, that I dont really care for it but its surely in line with the collective unconscious, as far as feeling alone in the world is concerned. If LaBeouf, an actual famous person, still craves love and attention, it speaks to something real inside those of us who fire off Tweets, Instagrams and Facebook posts apparently into the abyss, wondering if anyone will ever take notice.
Of all his runs, #ALLMYMOVIES is the most compelling because it presents the artist less as The Artist until recently, apparently only another of his roles as relevant actors and more in a state of genuine existential nakedness. Watching LaBeouf sleeping, yawn, wincing at his own performances, or trying to pick popcorn shards from his teeth is fascinating in its quotidian dullness so much so that when his face illuminates up with laugh or exhilaration, as it did while he watched Surfs Up, it feels like a rare gift.At days theres a tenderness to # ALLMYMOVIES that recalls Sam Taylor-Johnsons 2004 video portrait of David Beckham, David, as well as her magnificent Crying Men series. Perhaps its this odd tenderness that has led so many to tune in. Ive known more than a few LaBeouf sceptics who have been endeavoured to barrack for the actor as he suffers his own back catalogue.
What must it be like for LaBeouf to watch himself age in reverse? Is he gripped with a sense that his best years are behind him? Does he think he peaked as Chas in 2005 s Constantine? Many actors are on record as being unable to watch their own films. I wince when I hear my voice as Im transcribing an interview, and reading early runs can bring on apoplexies of shame, so I can only imagine the agony. And its that endurance that, in a way, dedicates #ALLMYMOVIES a sense of pathos that other noted endurance pieces lack. Hes revelling in the embarrassment.
As Guardian film writer Jordan Hoffman praised the performances commitment to completism: LaBeouf isnt sparing himself any of his dodgier output. Hes watching himself warts and all.
LaBeoufs status as a more garden variety celebrity than art world star is what attains these escapades in performance art intriguing: do his work critique our obsession with access to the stars, or further facilitate it? Im not sure hes worked that out yet, but its enjoyable watching him, in the sage words of Bob Seger, working on mysteries without any clues.
Then again, perhaps he has worked it out: I took a final glance at the #ALLMYMOVIES stream( he was up to 2007 thriller Disturbia) before filing this piece. LaBeouf wiped popcorn grease from his beard, and as he maintained his eyes glued on the screen while the entire world watched him, a beatific expression spread across his face. He knows whats up.
Read more: www.theguardian.com