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Trump supporters taunt Hollywood star's Finland art project

© AFP / by Anne KAURANEN | US actor Shia Labeouf is spending a month in an isolated cabin in the Finnish Arctic for his latest art project


Actor and artist Shia LaBeouf on Thursday dismissed as "lonely" and "resentful" a group of US President Donald Trump's supporters who disrupted his new art project in the Finnish Arctic.

As part of his latest art performance launched on April 12, "Alone Together" focussing on loneliness, LaBeouf is spending a month in an isolated cabin in northern Finland.

His only link with the outside world is typed messages that visitors can read on a screen inside a cabin at the Kiasma Museum of Modern Art in Helsinki.

But within days of the opening, the museum was forced to place a guard outside the cabin as a group of young men dressed all in black or wearing Trump-supporting "Make America Great Again" hats entered and disrupted visitors' contact with LaBeouf.

"They come to antagonise and threaten and disrupt in hope of having an effect.... They're lonely and resentful," LaBeouf told AFP on Thursday via a video link from a secret cabin in Lapland, some 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) north of Helsinki.

"They live in their phones -- rarely look up... they're always male and always white," LaBeouf said about the men, accusing them of "hate speech".

Visitors, who can see LaBeouf through a video link, may talk to the actor or his two other colleagues, Nastja Ronkko and Luke Turner. The three artists can only type comments back and not talk to each other.

LaBeouf's comments can be seen by anyone on the performance's live stream online.

The young men filmed their visits on their phones and then posted them on anonymous internet forums where threats to track down the location of LaBeouf's secret hideout in Lapland have also been posted.

Ronkko, a Finnish citizen, called the men "trolls" and described them as "school bullies but online" via her separately streamed video connection.

The Kiasma museum refused to comment on the disturbances, while the artists said they had not kept track of how many "trolls" they have seen via the video link.

Known for films such as "Disturbia" (2007), "Transformers" (2007) and Lars von Trier's "Nymphomaniac" (2013), LaBeouf was arrested in January when he allegedly grabbed and pushed a man outside the Museum of the Moving Image in New York.

The Hollywood star has said the charges against him were subsequently dropped.

The 30-year-old had launched an anti-Trump project with Ronkko and Turner on the day President Trump was inaugurated on January 20 outside the Museum of the Moving Image in New York.

But the project was shut down the following month as it quickly became "a flashpoint for violence", the museum said, with Trump fans acting aggressively toward LaBeouf's apparent leftist supporters who were invited to repeat "He Will Not Divide US" in front of a streaming video camera outside the museum.

After New York, the trio set up their "He Will Not Divide US" performance in the US state of New Mexico in February, but the video camera was quickly vandalised.

The performance in Finland is to continue until May 12.


© 2017 AFP