Shia LaBeouf, Nastja Sade Ronkko, and Luke Turner’s performance art project featuring an anti-Donald Trump flag that reads “He Will Not Divide Us” has been plagued by provocateurs since the trio launched it on inauguration weekend.
The performance art project first appeared at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York City the weekend of President Trump’s inauguration. It originally consisted of a webcam facing an external wall of the museum that had the words “He Will Not Divide Us” painted on it.
Passersby were “invited to come say ‘He will not divide us’ into the camera for as long and as many times as they like, until those words become a ‘mantra’ that ‘acts as a show of resistance or insistence, opposition or optimism, guided by the spirit of each individual participant and the community,’ or they begin to feel self-conscious about the fact that they’re talking about the need for action and compassion to a literal wall,” the A.V. Club reported at the time.
The project quickly became a target of Trump supporters, particularly members of the /pol/ 4chan message board, which is known to be a haven of the alt-right and those who otherwise see political incorrectness as a badge of honor.
Shia LaBeouf arrested at anti-Trump art installation in New Yorkhttps://t.co/d5MU08Zaah
— Rebecca J Kwangware (@rebeccajkwa) March 14, 2017
A more recent A.V. Club article highlighting the negative attention the “He Will Not Divide Us” project has received described it as “a lightning rod for the bored, attention-seeking impulses of the faux-but-not-really racists who’ve labeled themselves the ‘alt-right.'”
Some have assumed that the “faux-but-not-really racists” part was sarcastic, considering how the author described alt-right members who targeted LaBeouf’s project in the next sentence.
“Bombarding the project with weird poses, shouted anti-Semitism, and a lot of chugged milk, the group basically drove LaBeouf’s protest project out of New York, forcing it to reestablish itself in New Mexico,” the A.V. Club article continued.
The museum wall was replaced with a white flag with the words “He Will Not Divide Us” printed across it.
LaBeouf was even arrested after a minor altercation with one of the people protesting the art project.
After the harassment continued in Albuquerque, New Mexico, LaBeouf moved the flag and webcam to an undisclosed field in New Mexico. That’s when things got really weird.
The /pol/ 4chan users committed to what one news site referred to as “CIA-level research” to track down the location of Shia LaBeouf’s protest flag via clues in the background of the webcam live stream.
“They spotted planes flying over the new site on the live video feed, then used online flight radars to pin down the location,” the Daily Dot reported.
They also used the location of stars seen in the sky above the “He Will Not Divide Us” flag in the live stream. They eventually determined that the the flag was somewhere near Greenville, Tennessee.
— Kmarko (@Kmarkobarstool) March 13, 2017
In the final phase of the search, people in the Greenville area drove around the spot where they suspected the flag was. They honked their car horns as they drove so that those watching the live stream could report when they heard the car horn in the background. This ultimately led to them pinpointing the location of the flag.
Once they found the flag, they snuck into the field, took it down, and replaced it with a “Make America Great Again” from the Donald Trump campaign and a flag featuring Pepe the Frog, the official mascot of the alt-right movement.
It took the protestors only a little over a day to find the flag and take it down.
You can watch video of LaBeouf’s flag being removed and replaced at the Daily Dot.
[Featured Image by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images]