LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner are about to embark on a 30 day project where they hitchhike the internet. They will tweet their GPS coordinates, along with the #TAKEMEANYWHERE hashtag, and wait for a ride. Whoever then appears will have the opportunity to take them wherever they choose. They will repeat the process each day for the duration of the project. Their path is entirely in the hands of the public...
I met Nastja, Luke, and Shia at a remote cabin nestled deep in the middle of the Rocky mountains a day before they were to begin. The cabin has a strange Americana quality to it—decorated with stuffed moose and buffalo heads, rocking chairs, no shortage of American flags and a pump organ. There are also three llama's in the backyard and a white horse. No sign of any other human life...
VICE: How would you describe this place?
Luke: It's a strange cabin with dead animals.
Shia: It's not that strange.
Luke: It has a pump organ, a honky tonk piano...
Nastja: And a dead cat called Brian on the wall.
There's a buffalo and a deer and a moose.
Shia: And a birth basket.
So why are you guys here in Colorado?
Shia: We were invited to be a part of MediaLive, this festival happens at BMoCA once a year—this is the fifth iteration of it. They invited us, along with the Finnish Institute in London, and were really nice to us, which is always cool, to get a chance to work with people who believe in you, and you believe in. Feels good, I guess we look for that.
Luke: The theme of the festival this year is Corruption.
Nastja: We had this work that we thought might fit in.
Luke: I guess they invited us because our work is, hopefully, working against corruptions. Whilst the networks remain full of problematic hierarchies, at the same time there's this kind of egalitarian, utopian ideal of the internet that remains, and we want to perhaps try to preserve and accentuate that.
Shia: With these projects, we try to retain a naivety—or that's the goal. The goal is to sorta stay naive, stay impressionable, stay malleable.
Luke: It's an informed naivety.
What is this next project about?
Shia: Making friends.
Nastja: It's about trust, and also a journey. I'm more interested in the in-between state than arriving at a destination.
Luke: And we're all putting our trust in the collective, in the networks—they're deciding, they're determining what unfolds.
Nastja: It's about putting our trust in people. And also, people trusting us.
Shia: Hitchhiking is really the ultimate collab.
Would you call this your Great American road trip?
Shia: In a sense, for sure. There's definitely an Easy Rider kind of nostalgia to it, but there's also a futuristic Blade Runner GPS thing going on.
Nastja: Yeah, this whole thing is made possible via the internet, through the networks, and people will have to make a conscious decision to come to us. So it's not the usual scenario of randomly stopping to pick someone up.
Where does your ambition lie for this project?
Shia: With everything we do we're trying to find meaning, make meaning...
Nastja: To connect.
Shia: We don't really know where the show's gonna take us.
Luke: It's always an exploration. I think we all view art as an exploration.
Nastja: We really don't know what's going to happen.
Does that scare you?
Nastja: Something I've been thinking about is the fact that, in a way, it'll be the smallest show we've done, because potentially we'll have a few dozen people who will actually experience it offline.
Shia: But it's also super expansive. What's trippy is, it's the most expansive, and most intimate thing we've done.
Luke: And, going back to that idea of the Great American road trip, there's always that sense of wanting to escape into the landscape, whereas here we're being tracked the whole time. We're both escaping into it, whilst becoming more visible than we've ever been, and that creates a strange dynamic.
Nastja: Because you can't really disappear anymore.
You're lost, but you're not—because everyone's gonna know where you are at any given moment.
Nastja: You're not actually ever lost; you just don't know which direction to go.