Attention, shoppers: Please do not take pictures of the zombies.

Patrons at the Maine Mall on Sunday did not hear this broadcasted over the loudspeaker, but it was the message a Maine Mall security officer named Googin conveyed when he asked Sam Tung '09 and his friends, who were dressed as zombies for Tung's art project, to leave the mall.

His reason for asking them to leave was that taking photographs inside the mall is prohibited, unless cleared by mall management. Mall management, however, would not be available until Monday.

While the zombies' photographer, Kathryn Jacoby '10, agreed to stop, Googin said that the behavior would encourage other people to take pictures and that the group had to leave.

"I certainly expected to be talked to by security, but I was surprised by the half-assed way they threw us out," Tung said.

Tung conceived this interventionist art project, in which the artist goes into a public space to perform and causes those witnessing the performance to reflect on the space, for Professor of Art Mark Wethli's public art class. The course's description defines public art as "artworks in any media that are engaged with, addressed toward, and created in relationship to the public domain."

Tung chose to use zombies in order to comment on the conformity and consumerism within American culture, since he called them representations of "mindless masses and basic urges." The mall provided an ideal setting.

"I liked the idea of a costume and the message certain figures convey, and forcing people to reconsider what those figures mean," Tung said. "And I'm a huge zombie movie buff."

"My biggest fear was that a mother would complain I was scaring her child," he continued. "But nobody seemed bothered or distressed."

In fact, Tung said, most shoppers did not look at the eight students who were wearing zombie face paint, fake blood, torn jeans, polo shirts with popped collars, and iPod headphones.

"It was surprising how many people went out of their way not to stare," Tung said. "I couldn't tell if it was more out of reflex of not staring, or more that they didn't want to give us the attention we were calling for."

Even though he and the other students were zombies for only half an hour, Tung still enjoyed the project and considered it a success for him and his friends.

"As far as getting to be zombies and trying the interventionist project, it was a definite success," Tung said. "Did we actually make people question ideas of conformity and consumerism? I don't know. They might have just thought we were kids trying to make a scene."