January 20February 10, 2017
Statement from Museum of the Moving Image on closure of HEWILLNOTDIVIDE.US
The installation resulted in an unexpectedly volatile situation and serious public safety hazards
(NEW YORK, February 10, 2017) — The Museum of the Moving Image has closed HEWILLNOTDIVIDE.US, a participatory Internet streaming performance by LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner. The installation created a serious and ongoing public safety hazard for the Museum, its visitors, staff, local residents, and businesses.
The installation had become a flashpoint for violence and was disrupted from its original intent.
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. 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.
We take our commitment to the safety of our 200,000 annual visitors and 50,000 school children attending programs at the Museum seriously, along with the safety and security of our staff and community.
We are proud to have launched this engaging and thought-provoking digital art installation which was experienced by millions of online viewers worldwide. Until public safety concerns overrode the intent of the installation, HEWILLNOTDIVIDE.US generated an important conversation allowing interaction among people from many backgrounds and with different viewpoints. 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.
Original Project Description:
HEWILLNOTDIVIDE.US is a participatory performance by LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner that invites the public to deliver the words “He will not divide us” into a camera mounted on a wall outside the Museum of the Moving Image, repeating the phrase as many times, and for as long as they wish. The performance commences at 9:00 a.m. on January 20, 2017, the day of the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States.
Open to all, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the participatory performance will be live-streamed continuously at www.hewillnotdivide.us for four years, or the duration of the presidency. In this way, the mantra "HE WILL NOT DIVIDE US" acts as a show of resistance or insistence, opposition or optimism, guided by the spirit of each individual participant and the community.
The installation was closed on February 10, 2017 due to threats to public safety.