Art, Astoria, Museums and Galleries
Feb 10, 2017

MOMI’s “He Will Not Divide Us”… Cancelled

The streaming video installation, He Will Not Divide Us, at MOMI, has been shut down.

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Remember a while back when we told you about the Museum of the Moving Image’s project, He Will Not Divide Us? Yes, it elicited strong opinions on both sides, but what else did you think it would do? However, the project took a terminal turn and has been shut down. The Verge reported about it, referring to a press release from MOMI—here’s the gist of it:

“The installation had become a flashpoint for violence and was disrupted from its original intent.”

More:

“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.”

That arrest would probably be that of Shia LaBoeuf on Thursday, January 26 (also star of A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, set in Astoria of the 1980s). DNAinfo reports, “Actor Shia LaBeouf was arrested early Thursday for assault during a Trump protest outside the Museum of the Moving Image, police said. Supporters said he was provoked by a Hitler apologist. ‘Hitler did nothing wrong,’ a man can be heard saying on video right before LaBeouf shoves him.”

Now, really—if someone said that, wouldn’t you be upset, too? Anyway, he took it a step further and that resulted in an up close and personal time with the police. Other details from MOMI’s press release are unfortunate, sad, and frustrating. However, we are happy that MOMI doesn’t back down from expressing pride in making a good-faith effort in civic engagement.

“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.”

This installation, with its relative simplicity in relation to its capacity to spread a message of resistance and empowerment to 45, was only one piece in a larger movement of Americans standing up and engaging in the civic and political process, whether it’s calling their Senators, attending town halls, writing letters and postcards, or running for local office. We support and encourage your efforts in this way!

About Meg Cotner

Meg Cotner was trained as a harpsichordist and now works as a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of "Food Lovers' Guide to Queens," and is a skilled and avid home cook, baker, and preserver.

One Comment

Yasss

This was not an installation. It was ridiculous
Shia is reaching and the kid appears to be going crazy

Time to go home or back to work people. Who can afford to stand around all day doing nothing?

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