“I Fought The Law” Is A Collection Of Photographs Inspired By The Most Obscure Laws In America Interview With Artist
Olivia Locher's "I Fought the Law" project is a humorous and thought-provoking series of 50 photographs, each intentionally violating an absurd U.S. state law. The project challenges viewers to consider the hundreds of decisions made by local and state lawmakers each year and to question who decides what is considered decent and how these standards are enforced. It was first introduced in Locher's New York solo exhibition at the Steven Kasher Gallery in 2017, alongside the launch of her monograph, "Olivia Locher: I Fought the Law".
Some of the laws that Locher chose to break are particularly obscure, ranging from outdated historical laws to total headscratchers. For example, in California, riding bikes in swimming pools is illegal, and in Kansas, wine cannot be served in teacups. Other laws, while weird, have historical context and are simply outdated. For instance, in Alabama, it is illegal to carry an ice cream cone in your back pocket, as this was an ingenious way for horse thieves to steal horses. If you are curious which are the other principles Olivia included in her work, follow the list of images we prepared for you.
In California, Nobody Is Allowed To Ride A Bicycle In A Swimming Pool
Bored Panda reached out to Olivia Locher to find out more about the series “I Fought the Law”. We wanted to know about the process of researching all the obscure laws she decided to choose for her book. The artist said: “I found a good amount of the laws from old books published by Scholastic in the '70s, I found others on websites dedicated to the subject. Next, I worked with a fact checker to try to find the origins and history. A lot of these laws stay on the books simply because the process of removing them takes a lot of effort and money.”
In Ohio It’s Illegal To Disrobe In Front Of A Man’s Portrait
In Pennsylvania, It’s Illegal To Tie A Dollar Bill To A String And Pull It Away When Someone Tries To Pick It Up
We were wondering which one of the laws from the series turned out to be Olivia’s favorite in terms of creating a photograph for it. Locher told us: “The ice cream photo has become my favorite because it seems to represent the whole project very well! The photo represents how it’s illegal to have an ice cream cone in your back pocket in Alabama.”
In Alabama, It's Illegal To Have An Ice Cream Cone In Your Back Pocket
In Wisconsin, It Is Illegal To Serve Apple Pie In Public Restaurants Without Cheese
Asked about what this series says about American culture and society, particularly in relation to laws and social conventions, Olivia said: “All these little laws sometimes can add up to big expenses in the wrong place and time. Absurd laws can become a very effective tool of political agendas. The ones I explored might be more comical, but they allude to the slipperiness of the legal system, which sometimes does warrant fighting.”
In Michigan, It's Illegal To Paint Sparrows To Sell Them As Parakeets
We were curious what was the public response to this series. Also, we asked if the photographer received any feedback from lawmakers or legal authorities. Olivia told us: “I am always so touched anytime someone lets me know they enjoyed the project. It’s always such an honor when people send me a photo of the book in a store they love or in their homes. I hope people will continue to have their own adventures with the work. I always enjoy it when lawyers reach out to let me know the book lives on their coffee table. A few law firms have even bought prints of the work, so I’m happy it has touched people who deal with this subject matter day after day.”
The series "I Fought The Law" was formally released in 2017, and as a considerable amount of time has elapsed, we were curious if the author is aware of any modifications to the laws featured in it since then. Olivia said: “In NYC there was a law that banned dancing link, it was repealed in 2017. My friend, the former councilmember Rafael Espinal, introduced the bill to repeal it. It's not unlike New Hampshire’s photograph in my book: 'In New Hampshire, you can't tap your foot to keep time to music' — they were both created for the same reasons; it’s a cabaret law. These laws require nightclubs and bars to have a specific license if they intend to host three or more people dancing at the same time. In NYC this law has been in effect since 1926. Law enforcement often utilized this law if they wanted to shut a place down. It was a big win for NYC when that law was revoked.”
In Arkansas, It’s Illegal To Kill Or Preserve Any Living Creature Without A License
We asked Olivia about some future plans and projects she is going to work on. We also wanted to find out if she is going to continue exploring themes related to politics and social commentary in her work. Locher told us: “I have been working on a long-term project since 2012 called How To. It is a collection of over 150 photographs that chronicles misguided attempts at human achievement, inspired by how instructions could be easily lost in translation, resulting in a new form of success or failure for the model. I began staging these photographs in my studio during my senior year at SVA. This project has and continues to serve as my creative diary for the past decade. I am hoping to eventually compile this work into a second book, the work largely comments on politics and social commentary. I also am about to start a new portraiture project using kids as models.”