He Will Not Divide Us — the live-streamed protest art project by Shia LaBeouf, Nastja Säde Rönkkö, and Luke Turner — was meant to last the full four years of Trump’s presidency. However, it has been shut down after less than three weeks. The live-stream website is now a static screen that says, “The Museum has abandoned us.”
The Museum of the Moving Image in Queens was hosting the project, which was basically a live feed of an exterior wall that anyone could stand in front of — staring into space, expressing their feelings about the current administration, or giving shoutouts to friends and internet forums. LaBeouf often appeared at the site himself, leading crowds in chants of “he will not divide us.”
“a serious and ongoing public safety hazard”
In a press release, the museum said the decision was made because “the installation created a serious and ongoing public safety hazard,” referring to an encounter that led to on-camera shoving and LaBeouf’s arrest. The release also cites “numerous” other arrests and “dozens of threats of violence.” The exhibit was targeted by neo-Nazis and Trump supporters within its first week. As originally reported by BuzzFeed, groups rallied on forums like Discord and 4chan with plans to disrupt the project by shouting catchphrases associated with white supremacy and ethnic cleansing, as well as in support of Hitler and Nazi Germany.
Following these incidents, the museum began working with the NYPD on January 26th to secure the exhibit. At the time, spokesperson Tomoko Kawamoto told The Verge, “Out of concern for the safety of all participants, museum visitors and staff, and the surrounding community, we are monitoring the situation in partnership with the police.” It’s not clear what exactly changed since that development, but we have reached out to the museum for comment.
The museum’s note on the closure concludes by saying “we are proud to have launched this engaging and thought-provoking digital art installation... however, ending our engagement with the installation is the most prudent path forward to restore public safety to the Museum, its visitors, staff, and the community.”