“LeBeouf, Ronkko and Turner. Can you touch my soul?’
As dinner hours go, standing a mere two feet away from Hollywood superstar Shia LeBeouf, with him taking calls in a make shift call centre, certainly beats the normal routine of agonising over which Tesco meal deal to purchase.
The Transformers actor hasn’t opted for a career change into the world of customer services; he’s set up camp at FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology), with his collective as part of the arts centre’s latest exhibition, Follow. Open to the general public for three days from tomorrow, LeBeouf, Ronkko and Turner will be manning the lines and accepting calls from across the world; asking those ringing in “Can you touch my soul?” So, if you watched Nymphomaniac and always fancied making Shia’s hotline bling, now’s your chance.
To be in with a shot to chat with Shia about his soul (as if it’s 6am and you’re sat in someone’s kitchen after a night out; talking about the universe and that time you thought you saw a UFO), all you have to do is ring 0151 8080771 between the hours of 11am and 6pm GMT. Gutted if you finally get through and Shia isn’t the one who picks up (No offence, Ronkko and Turner).
Shia LaBeouf says 'touch my soul', but 3 people are taking calls. Should be 'touch our souls'. Say that aloud and you'll see why is isn't.
— Channel 4 (@Channel4) December 10, 2015
Channel 4 have spotted the semantic issues regarding the hotline’s script.
In a world where we use Instagram and Twitter ‘likes’ to assess who and what is important, FACT’s latest commission asks what impact the internet is really having on our concept of ‘reality’, and how we think about ourselves, our idols and those around us.
No irony was lost on us as we
creepily stalked pottered around LaBeouf with our smart phones barely leaving our hands; making our Snapchat stories obnoxiously long, filtering his socks-tucked-into-trackies look for Instagram and basically live streaming the whole experience.
“Send him that picture, add it to the stream” one of the curators suggested to me as I showed her my Snapchat homage to Shia’s ‘I Am Not Famous Anymore’ outfit. Within seconds, LaBeouf was howling* with laughter at my ‘art’, and I was all ‘RIP me – this is the greatest thing to ever happen to me.’
*Okay, okay – maybe I’m exaggerating his hearty chuckle a little bit. Let me have this.
Although the main attraction for visiting FACT’s latest exhibition will undoubtably be that you’re able to stand in the same room as an A list celebrity, for free, it’s worth remembering that other great commissions are running alongside #TouchMySoul. With work from Cecile B. Evans, Joe Orr, Ant Hamlyn and Aram Bartholl, a whole host of installations, videos and concepts fill the gallery; exploring the idea of self-branding, identity sharing and micro-celebrity within online lives. My personal favourite is Debora Delmar’s Branded for Life. Inspired by Cara Delevingne and Jordan Dunn’s matching ‘Double D’ tattoos, Delmar’s corner of the gallery is filled with Instagram profiles, videos and branded body suits; all looking at how in which commodity culture structures our everyday life and the idea of self-branding and marketing the ‘aspirational lifestyle’. The best bit though? The free temporary tattoos available! I will never have Cara’s figure, or Jordan’s stunning looks, but damn it, I can now have their iconic twin tatts on me for a short while.
The world’s media has been focused on our own little arts centre on Wood St today and it’s the perfect time to reflect on how lucky Liverpool is to have such a fantastic organisation like FACT that we can can call our own. If you want to put some money where you mouth is and give FACT a helping hand, take a look at their kickstarter here and help them continue to bring more world famous artists to the city.
Follow exhibition runs at FACT Liverpool, 11 December 2015 – 21 February 2016
See also: If Britney Can Make It Through 2007