Say what you want about Shia LaBeouf (and granted, there is a lot to say about Shia LaBeouf), but one of the coolest things about his recent ~art performances~ is just how accessible he's making himself to fans and to the general public. LaBeouf's latest stint #ELEVATE involves locking himself in an elevator for 24 hours at Oxford University where fans can join and ask him anything — and the whole thing is being live streamed on YouTube. (Bless you, technology.) The actor and his two collaborators have been in the elevator since 9 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 19, and will stay there until 9 a.m. on Saturday morning, taking a break to give a talk at the school.
If the prospect already sounds daunting — it's definitely not for the claustrophobic — it should be noted just how vulnerable LaBeouf makes himself in these scenarios, like openly telling one group of fans a detailed story about how he used to "sh*t himself" in the corner of his school classrooms until he was 12. The thing is, though, it was pretty obvious he didn't tell it for the shock value — it was clear the 29-year-old just wanted to tell a story that broke down barriers between people and connect with them on a deeper level.
And that's exactly what is at the core of LaBeouf's many avant garde art pieces, like #ALLMYMOVIES, where he watched a marathon of every single one of his films alongside fans in a theater. Look at how he described the experience of watching The Even Stevens Movie next to fans who grew up on the show. He told New Hive,
Yes it’s a film festival where you’re watching all of my movies, but a lot of this stuff — especially Even Stevens… the Even Stevens Movie was interesting, it’s all of our childhood. It’s mine and it’s yours. It wasn’t just me smiling like that. If you look at the freeze frames, everyone is smiling like wow, I remember Beans. I remember that stupid-ass song. We were all looking at our yearbook together and we’re all in the yearbook. It felt like family, we were sitting there like a high school class.
It's obvious what fans get out of these experiments (how often do you have a chance to be in an enclosed space with your favorite actor and ask him literally anything you want or straight-up watch your favorite movies right alongside the guy who starred in them?), but it's also clear that what LaBeouf takes home with him is that connection to other humans. For the Fury actor, it's more about interacting with people on that basic human level, having conversations with strangers in an elevator and leaving yourself open and vulnerable to any topic that may come your way. And it is that vulnerability and willingness to be so open and accessible that not only makes LaBeouf a great performer — but also the perfect person to do this type of experiment.