Shia LaBeouf’s controversial participatory art installation at the Museum of the Moving Image has been shut down. Operating 24 hours a day beginning on Inauguration Day, “HEWILLNOTDIVIDE.US”—created by LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner, the team behind 2015’s #ALLMYMOVIES—was established in response to Donald Trump’s election. It was mounted on a wall outside of the museum in Astoria, Queens, offering passersby the opportunity to say “He will not divide us” into a live-streamed webcam.
In unfortunate contradiction with its messaging, the installation became a political battleground, as clashes between Trump supporters and opponents turned violent—an ugly distillation of what’s currently playing out on a much larger scale around the country. Days after the project began, LaBeouf ended up in a heated situation with a uniformed white supremacist yelling “1488” into the webcam; while no punches were thrown in this particular scenario, several confrontations around the new installation did turn dangerous after that initial encounter. LaBeouf himself was arrested days later at the site, on suspicion of misdemeanor assault and harassment, while neighbors complained about increased instances of loitering, according to Page Six.
“While the installation began constructively, it deteriorated markedly after one of the artists was arrested on the site of the installation and ultimately necessitated this action,” MoMI’s statement on the installation closure said. “Over the course of the installation, there have been dozens of threats of violence and numerous arrests, such that police felt compelled to be stationed outside the installation 24 hours a day, seven days a week.” The museum added that the stream was viewed by over a million people worldwide.