Installation art in the mall

This is too funny not to repost from the Washington Post:

    The Associated Press
    Tuesday, October 2, 2007; 5:35 PM

    PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The leader of an artists’ cooperative has been sentenced to probation for setting up a secret apartment inside a shopping mall’s parking garage as part of a project on mall life.

    Michael Townsend, 36, said he and seven other artists built the 750-square-foot apartment beginning in 2003 and lived there for up to three weeks at a time.

    The artists built a cinderblock wall and nondescript utility door to keep the loft hidden from the outside world.

    But inside, the apartment was fully furnished, down to a hutch filled with china and a Sony Playstation 2 — although a burglar broke in and stole the Playstation last spring, Townsend said.

    There was no running water _ instead they used the mall bathrooms.

    On his Web site, Townsend said he was inspired by a Christmastime ad for the mall which featured a “an enthusiastic female voice talking about how great it would be if you (we) could live at the mall.”

    He built the dwelling “out of a compassion to understand the mall more and life as a shopper.”

    Townsend said plans to make the apartment “super-sweet” with laminated wood flooring and other perks fell apart last week after he and a visiting artist from Hong Kong walked into the room and were greeted by three security guards. He pleaded no contest to a trespassing charge.

    Providence Place Mall spokesman Dante Bellini Jr. described the living space as little more than “an area with stuff in it.”

    But Providence Police Maj. Stephen Campbell said he and other detectives were so intrigued they visited the apartment to see for themselves.

    “I was surprised at what he was able to accomplish,” Campbell said. “But what he did was clearly criminal. The mall is private property.”

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About pcNielsen
Paul Nielsen founded The Aesthetic Elevator late in 2005. He owns a piece of paper, located somewhere in his house (not on the wall), stating that he earned a B.F.A. from the University of Nebraska around about 2001. While there, he studied studied architecture, graphic design and ceramics, graduating with a degree in studio art. Paul presently serves as communications manager for a small non-profit doing their print design and marketing. He spends as much time sculpting in his studio as possible — which is not nearly enough. Visit his website at pcNielsen.com.

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