February 26, 2009
The Fairborn News-Packet
Guerrilla Artists Invade Local Mall
by Darwin Harrop and Elene Palm, staff writers
Employees of the Fairborn Gallery Mall received a shock when security staff opened the doors at 8 AM on Saturday. They found that a so-called “flash mob” of self-proclaimed guerrilla artists had transformed its food court into a modern-day shantytown — complete with hobos, feral dogs, and steel drums full of flaming garbage. A dozen performance artists belonging to the Blood and Roses Collective staged the event to, in the words of group leader Selma Poole, “Provide a preview showing the results of impending financial apocalypse.”
Poole, a Fairborn hometowner now living in New York City, explained her choice of the Fairborn Gallery Mall with a reference to the nearby luxury neighborhood of Grassy Elms. “If you’re looking for the engineers of disaster capitalism as Phil Lucht or Sir Ralph Finley, look no further than there. The coming misery of the common people won’t probably penetrate to their gated community, so we brought it as close as we could to their security-patrolled doorsteps. So these Wall Street greedheads can see what they’ve done to the world.”
Members of the Blood and Roses Collective resorted to non-violent resistance tactics when police attempted to clear them from the scene. After a three-hour effort, officers arrested the participants on a variety of charges, including break and enter, criminal trespass, and a range of fire code violations.
How the guerrillas gained access to the mall remains unclear. Poole says only that no locks were broken or circumvented.
Shoppers and mall employees reacted to the collective’s antics with shock and dismay.
“It’s shameful to have to see that sort of thing,” observed retiree Margaret Cureton. “Watching the news every day is upsetting enough, without having it shoved in your face when you need to buy paper towels.”
The extent of losses to mall retailers has yet to be fully established. Michael Miller, manager of the Bath Barn retail outlet, said, “It might balance out, the business we lost in the morning against increased traffic in the afternoon from people coming to rubberneck. But it shouldn’t have to, should it? I mean, you can’t exactly buy insurance against performance art, can you?”