To say I am Sorry and truly mean it is, in many ways, the most vulnerable place anyone can be. What would you give of yourself to show someone that you truly are sorry? Would you do what Shia did and allow yourself to stay put and do nothing while people yelled at you, laughed, poked, whipped, fucked you?
(this is long and repetitive in parts..) Shia. Shia shia shia, child of Disney, plagiarism boy as some call him.. Great actor to some yet horrible chooser of movies to star in w/ corny lines and bad directing.. Rape Victim? Maybe? Yes? No? What do I think? What I think doesn’t matter but I’m going to say anyway. In the strictest of senses The only person he is a victim of is himself. His naivety, his trust in humanity, his lack of planning… What if the one who said you couldn’t say no was yourself? “I’m going to do sit here for x amount of time and let anyone do anything to me without doing anything to stop them.” Never mind any safe words, boundaries or a button or anything to call it quits to go to the bathroom. Did he not talk to anyone about this and not do a whole 20 questions deal? With his girlfriend or the other artists in the show? What if someone touches my penis? what if someone punches me in the face? What if someone picks my nose? What if someone pulls a hair out of my head? What if someone gives me a tattoo? What if someone pulls my clothes off? What if someone takes the whip I supplied and actually starts hitting me with it? Everything else outside of using the bathroom or eating is free reign for whatever whoever wants to do. If I did an installation art exhibit where I sat there and let anyone do anything to me, without any rules to follow, I have then given permission for the audience to do anything they want to me for the sake of art. Unless I tell them to stop. Telling them to stop would be, in some peoples’ view and even to the artist’s, interfering with the art. That, in and of itself, could be the point of the art.
Prior artists, Marina Abramovic, experienced this herself when she allowed the audience to do whatever they wanted with many items laid out which included a scalpel, a gun, a bullet, a whip (Shia had a whip)… 1) She put those there for a reason 2) It reminds me of Stanford Prison Experiment to see how far people would go 3) She felt violated but she allowed herself to go on to experience that by putting the things there, leaving it up to the audience in the first place and not stopping her art show shy of her 6 hour plan. “What I learned was that… if you leave it up to the audience, they can kill you.” … “I felt really violated: they cut up my clothes, stuck rose thorns in my stomach, one person aimed the gun at my head, and another took it away. It created an aggressive atmosphere.” Of course you’re going to feel violated by putting yourself fully out there for anyone to do with you what they want. People are f’d up. I don’t trust people that much. See how far people will go? Look at the group rapes of India w/ the men disemboweling women. People are fucked Up. No way in 2 hells would I subject myself to sit there and allow people to do whatever they want to me without some boundaries. OR I might if it was for the sake of getting a point across. The point of how fucked up people can be and just how far people would go. The fact that Abramovic came out of it bruised, bloody and beaten doesn’t mean she WASN’T assaulted, just that she ultimately allowed herself to be. Allowing oneself to be hurt can still hurt, emotionally, physically and spiritually. Had someone taken that gun and inserted it into her I’m sure rape/assault would also be a topic of many people, not limited to art theorists and college professors/students…
So.. was shia labeouf raped? If he thinks he was then I don’t think he thought his art installation through completely. If he had any notion in his mind that that would happen would he have done the art show anyway? If he’s using that as a means to get us talking about rape then he has succeeded. If it is a rape case to be put through the courts with the final verdict of having that woman found Guilty of rape then the only thing I can think of that would make that happen is the recent law (in california? idk) saying one must say Yes for it to be consensual and all other sexual relations is rape. Anywhere else she could argue that “Anything” is too subjective and, after all, she never had the slightest idea that it wasn’t allowed. I know this is a very hot button for many people, as for myself. So I’m 23 kissing a guy and he obviously wants sex. I don’t but I go along with everything and let him do me anyway. He sees me as someone who is saying nothing, a great kisser and by all other non-verbal signs i seem, to him, as into it as he is. He doesn’t know I’d cry myself to sleep later that night. Can I then call him a rapist? Was I raped? Is he a rapist? Should he go to jail? In my case there was no victim. If I was a victim and got him put in jail simply on the idea that I really didn’t want it in the first place then couldn’t he put me in jail for setting him up and not making myself clear? I turned him into a rapist by not verbalizing my discontent at the whole situation when, had I said no, he would’ve been the perfect gentleman and backed off. That may sound twisted but in a way I’m sure a lawyer could make that happen. There are several ways the “you must say yes or it’s rape” law is a good one. It takes out all the guess work of what is and what isn’t rape (i speak of this all in regards to non-minor sex). So… NOT Taking that law of “yes” into account WAS SHIA RAPED? If I had to say, knowing what little I know of the situation, he was not. The only person who victimized him was himself. He set the stage, the props, the players, what little rules there were. If he feels violated, hurt or betrayed then I do feel sorry for him. I have somewhat of a similar feeling when thinking back on my year 23. If he knew anything of prior installation artists and how aggressive people became he would’ve made rules to stop that from happening, unless he wanted to see how it’d go. He could’ve stopped it anytime but he just sat there, supposedly, like a statue, trapped by nothing but the mere preset notions of HIS art show.
It is amazing how this little man could bring about so much rambling from me that has also made so many argue where that line is. What is art and what is crime? What is consensual and what is rape? He may have been frozen in response, unable to move as so many rape victims are, she may have been taking advantage of his art show knowing he had promised not to move and she is vile for that but I can not call her a rapist on what i know of the situation. She may have thought he was ok with it since it wasn’t forbidden. Some people are seriously that whack to go to a sexual place in thought and then in action. If Shia were a woman in an art installation doing the same thing and a man did that to her I would say the same, too. Just the same for other performance artists who leave it all up to the audience…sometimes the actions of the audience are what are most important and most heightened. I had a friend who did a performance peace on race. She was not white and had many different clothing set aside for people to dress her like she were a doll. She had rules, “Dress me up or down, anyway you want just do not take off bottom black layer”. Simple. The way people dressed her was only based on stereotypes of her race. No one tried to take all of her clothes off. No one tried to cut her hair b/c she had set clear boundaries.
If this has taught us anything and if future artists remember anything it is that people will do the unthinkable if given the chance. If Shia has gone to art school one might have told him the lightbulb joke, “How many art students does it take to change a lightbulb? Answer: Does it have to be a lightbulb?” If you don’t put boundaries up there are none. Our art teacher was so sick of us asking a million questions about a simple assignment that he just started saying, “You can break the rules if it works, i’m done”. This was Shia’s installation. Wrapping this all up simply, I say If that woman CROSSED A LINE then he, the artist, didn’t plan well or painted that line with Acme’s Disappearing Reappearing ink.