An AP story is making the rounds about a group of 8 artists, know as Trummerkind, who in 2003 built a 750 square-foot secret studio apartment inside a parking lot at a Providence, RI shopping mall, living there on an off for up to three weeks at a time over a four year period. The hidden apartment had electricity and was fully furnished, including a china hutch, but no running water (the artists used the Mall’s bathrooms).
During the Christmas season of 2003 and 2004, radio ads for the Providence Place Mall featured an enthusiastic female voice talking about how great it would be if you (we) could live at the mall. The central theme of the ads was that the mall not only provided a rich shopping experience, but also had all the things that one would need to survive and lead a healthy life. This, along with a wide variety of theoretical musings about my relationship to the mall – as a citizen and public artists – provided the final catalyst for making the apartment.
The “Malllife” project was discovered last Wednesday and Michael Townsend, the leader of the group, has been sentenced to 6 months probation after pleading no contest to a criminal charge of trespassing.
Here’s extensive coverage from Rhode Island News, including details on how the apartment was built, with the artists sneaking in two tons of construction materials.
Bob Kerr of the Rhode Island News has a great follow-up story on the project.