By now you have probably seen Shia LaBeouf’s face plastered all over your news feed, screaming “JUST DO IT!”, an oppressive motivation to achieve your dreams. Although now floating around the Internet in various forms, this clip began its life as part of 36 individual works created between the Fine Art BA and LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner – the collaborative trio that has been behind Shia’s foray into the fine arts. This collaboration forms #INTRODUCTIONS, one of the features of the live-stream broadcasting throughout the private view of the degree show.
As the end of our third year approached, making our degree show an exciting experience seemed like a pressing concern for everyone, and we started envisioning ways to transcribe this group energy to the public as much as possible. It is with this goal in mind that we decided to live stream the BA Fine Art degree show: an opportunity for anyone in the world to tune in and pull back the Granary building veil. The internet is a hive of potential community building, and live content facilitates such bonding heavily. Throughout the evening, we engaged with this community – formed in a matter of minutes – with Christian Wright actively communicating with people sharing in their reactions.
The stream was an eclectic display of art, interviews and – of course – LaBeouf. Over the course of 3 hours, it played host of a variety of segments. Final year Fashion History and Theory student (and editor of 1 Granary issue 3!) Osman Ahmed paraded around the CSM building, engaging in a set of satirical sassy fashionista style interviews with students, getting involved with interactive work, while also giving his take on the current complicated relationship between fine art and fashion.
Opposite Osman, a set of art-focussed panel discussions brought an honest reality to the world of art making and educating. Chaired by Alice Humphreys and Alexandre Saden, the casual discussions touched on a range of subjects at the core of students’ fine art practices, both in and out of college. During the evening you could see them discuss performative spaces, labour and craft, and the general feeling of community that an event such as the degree show fosters. This was summed up brilliantly by Mick Finch – head of Fine Art at CSM – who highlighted how happy he was to see the first £9000 year as maybe some of the most collaborative and community driven students to pass through the building in recent years. For us personally, feedback from these discussions has been outstanding and very rewarding.
All the while, LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner’s short monologues served as introductions to students’ performances and moving image works, but also became individual pieces in their own right. Recorded in a studio in Los Angeles, these green screen clips were produced from text and instructions from students, with the intention to edit Shia into any setting the artist wanted. The results vary from Shia selling a plastic samurai sword as a lifestyle necessity, to a display of acting skills in front of a digitally created “dying star”. The possibilities were endless and designed to be so. Uploaded to Vimeo in their original form, the internet did what what it does best with the invitation of a green screen, and spread these videos all over the world. Shia LaBeouf, depicted by Andrew Smith – one of the project instigators – as being “in this place that oscillates between the two worlds of his mass audience and his art audience”, seemed to impersonate almost perfectly this breaching of the two communities into one another that we wanted to facilitate.It is a bizarre feeling standing at the back end of three or four years at Central Saint Martins; our final show inside the school now behind us; with Shia’s voice now warped and remixed by the world, but still reminding us in a deceptively earnest and sincere manner that nothing is impossible – you just have to do it. We certainly did not see this collaboration coming at the beginning of the degree. But I also think such naive words might resonate with us strongly – as a promise of opportunity – as we enter the world, still starry eyed.
Below are a small selection of videos that show what ripples can be created through simple and honest forms of collaboration.
Live Stream orchestrated by Andrew Smith & Christian Wright.
Panel Discussions hosted by Alice Humphreys & Alexandre Saden.
Interviews hosted by Osman Ahmed.
With thanks to Shia LaBeouf, Nastja Rönkkö & Luke Turner.
With support from Tiago Coelho, Moea Creugent, Nina Davies, Michael Peters, Maureen Monod, Roman Sheppard Dawson, Charles Verni & a bunch of first year fine art 4D.
Header image by Christian Wright
Written by Roman Sheppard Dawson