Artist Lives In a Secret Room At a Shopping Mall For 4 Years

You never know what will inspire an artist to do great — and sometimes bizarre — things. For Michael Townsend of Providence, Rhode Island, it was a commercial for a local mall that talked about how great it would be if you could actually live in such a wonderful shopping center. So, he and seven other friends decided to do just that. After discovering an empty space in the mall design, they set up an actual 750-square-foot apartment inside the Providence Mall back in 2003 — with each person taking turns living there three weeks at a time. They somehow managed to construct a fake cinderblock wall and used an ordinary-looking utility door to hide the entrance. Inside were all the comforts of home: electric lights, a TV, a PlayStation 3, and even a hutch filled with china. The only thing missing was a bathroom and running water, because there was no way to hook up plumbing. Not to worry. They just used the facilities of a mall gym. The secret mallrats got away with it until a nosy security guard discovered the breach. Townsend, the then 18-year-old mastermind of the group, was arrested and pled no contest to trespassing. He was sentenced to probation and banned for life from even crossing the mall’s property.