(PCM) In a long email correspondence with Dazed magazine’s Aimee Cliff, actor Shia LaBeouf bared his soul, telling Cliff about past traumatic experieces, his childhood, his growth, and a shocking story of how he was raped at his “#IAMSORRY” performance art show in Beverly Hills in February.
Contacting Cliff after she wrote a piece about the actor’s performance art, LaBeouf asked the journalist if she was interested in starting up an email correspondence because he liked her point of view.
Jumping on the chance (because who wouldn’t?), Cliff dives into the topics of performance art and metamodernism, a set of developments in philosophy described as meditations between aspects of both modernism and postmodernism, that LaBeouf identifies with.
Among the many, many topics that the two cover, one of the more shocking stories to come from the interview is one where Shia LaBouf reveals that he was raped by a participant of his performance art show.
“#IAMSORRY,” a five day long performance art show in Beverly Hills, allowed anyone to enter a room and have one-on-one interactions with the Transformers and Fury actor while he remained completely silent and wore a paper bag over his head with the words “I AM SORRY” painted in black across his face.
“#IAMSORRY” was a response to the backlash against LaBeouf after he plagarized a short comic by Ghost World author Daniel Clowes in his short film HowardCantour.com, a genuine apology to the world at large.
According to LaBeouf, the overall experience was cathartic, revealing, and healing:
“Almost everyone who came in had preconceived notions of what they were going to experience, and as soon as Nastja Rönkkö brought them through the curtain, everything changed,” LaBeouf told Cliff.
“I went from being a celebrity or object to a fellow human. I was genuinely remorseful. It wasn’t manipulation, I was heartbroken. People I’ve never met before came in and loved on me and with me. Some would hold my hand and cry with me, some would tell me to ‘figure it out’ or to ‘be a man’. I’ve never experienced love like that; empathy, humanity.
“Still, there were others who came in with an agenda they couldn’t let go of. Some folks would come in, take my bag off, pop off a selfie and bounce. That felt terrible.”
Shia LaBeouf explains that some people entered the performance art show with specific plans for the actor, some more malevolent than others.
The actor goes on to desribe how one woman entered the show, whipped his legs for 10 minutes, then proceeded to strip him of his clothes and sexually assualt him. An incredibly traumatizing experience that the actor endured in silence:
“One woman who came with her boyfriend, who was outside the door when this happened, whipped my legs for ten minutes and then stripped my clothing and proceeded to rape me… There were hundreds of people in line when she walked out with dishevelled hair and smudged lipstick. It was no good, not just for me but her man as well” Labeouf revealed.
“On top of that my girl was in line to see me, because it was Valentine’s Day and I was living in the gallery for the duration of the event – we were separated for five days, no communication,” adds the actor. “So it really hurt her as well, as I guess the news of it travelled through the line. When she came in she asked for an explanation, and I couldn’t speak, so we both sat with this unexplained trauma silently. It was painful.”
Shia LaBeouf divulged that the experience was “really terrible” and added that it is through these projects he’s exploring that he is finding himself.
Read the full unedited email correspondence between Aimee Cliff and Shia LaBeouf on LaBeouf and collaborators Nastja Säde Rönkkö and Luke Turner’s website, thecampaignbook.com and read Cliff’s edited version over at Dazed.
Cliff and LaBeouf also engaged in an in-person meet up, where the two strapped Go Pros to their heads and sat across from one another, silently holding eye contact for the duration of an hour.
The video and the email correspondence serve as part of a metamordernist experience, where the pair’s written interaction is online, a non-physical space, and the video of the two meeting in person is for the most part silent; the two never exchange a word when physically present.
If you have an hour to spare, you can watch the full video below.