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Lilly McElroy  New York, NY

* All images used with permission. Please do not distribute without first contacting the artist.

About Lilly

This project began with the documentation of public reaction to unexpected behavior in privately owned public spaces. A considerable amount of our time is spent in those types of locations where conduct is regimented. This has become especially noticeable due to the current practice of reining in public expression. Fear of non-conformity has made uncommon behaviors virtually impermissible. Therefore I decided to experiment, by performing an action that was out of place, but clearly non-confrontational. The settings chosen are not only privately owned public spaces, but were also points of transition. There is little sense of personal space or comfort in any of the locations. People are meant to pass through them without much engagement or interaction. When not dismissed as absurd, my actions were responded to with anger; re-emphasizing the fact that public behavior has become highly restricted.

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Lilly appears in the following Top 10 lists

'New York'


10 of 24 reactions displayed

"This does not offend, it should be seen as non threatening and a valuable individual interpretation. Limits are necessary but testing the limits is also necessary to set those limits at appropriate levels. Testing boundaries and limits makes them more flexible and responsive to change and growth. Love the image."

"I've given myself a few days to think about it, and it's official, I'm in love. Part performance art, part photography, I disagree with some of the conclusions but the "Locations" series is just awsome in the purest sense of the word.(As a couple other people have already pointed out, at previous times in history this behavior likely would have resulted in arrest, or commitment, or stoning. I think it's less that we've become "more restricted" but rather that we've become numb, frequently in the name of "tolerance".)"

"i get it, its projects how someone who ppl don't notice would feel like"

"Public restrictions on behavior have become so tough that we can't lay on the ground at a gas stations."

"Its pretty hard to phase the NY crowd. Even celebrities consider it a refuge from the rest of the world because of New Yorker's non-reaction. Most people I've observed seem too self-absorbed to take the time and investigate a person out-of-place lying on the floor. Though its an interesting project. in my opinion, perhaps a compare/contrast with other cities would tell us more about human social conditioning."

"The silent but powerful pressure from others to conform to a uniformly sanitized and constricted mode of behavior has been at the forefront of my thinking lately. Just try acting with the smallest bit of individuality and freedom and pay attention to how it makes you feel. Thank you Lilly for bringing our deadening restrictions to light."

"I'm curious about how often anyone stopped to ask if Lilly was all right. Will check out her other projects."

"Fabulous work. I love the intensity of the photo, how delicate it is. I can almost imagine the man on his cell phone walking past, paying no attention, blabbing on and on about his job, then a bustle of ladies with beauty marks trudge past, yapping on about how much their new Juicy Couture gold decked out shoes pinched the left side of their right foot, not caring whether the girl was alone. Love it. Fantastic."

"Well,if you can not provoke a viewer to feel some kind of emotion,it is not art.You are a gifted artist and your work blows me away.I like to say,"an artist's artist".Like to see more..Congrats!"

"It's in my nature to be endlessly curious and also something of abutter-in, so I think I'd check on the young woman's safety and perhaps call 911. Even if I realized that it was a set-up, I'd still be concerned for her in such a spot. Intervening can be bothuseful and personally gratifying; at worst you may look like a nosy fool--not a huge risk."

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