CINCINNATI -- Wearing only a sports bra and spandex shorts, an art student offered her body to strangers at Fountain Square Wednesday to write their most intimate secrets on.
Northern Kentucky University student Elani Sininger, 18, quite literally gave strangers an opportunity to get something off their chest by writing it on hers.
"I wanted people to come and write their secrets, or something they've been keeping bottled inside of them, something they just wanted to release," said Sininger. "Let them write it on my body and then just walk away and release all of their negative energy with me."
Lying on a towel at the corner of 5th and Vine Streets in downtown Cincinnati, Sininger blindfolded herself and wore earbuds to ensure the privacy of the confessor.
"That way they wouldn't feel insecure," she said. "They wouldn't think that I was listening or I was watching them. They could totally feel isolated to do what they felt like they needed to do."
Coupled with a nearby sign explaining what she wanted a passerby to do, Sininger attracted gobs of attention not only at street-level but also from a second-story lounge in a nearby hotel.
She also attracted dozens brave enough to pick up the black marker next to her and begin writing.
On her chest someone wrote, 'I'm gay and my dad doesn't know.' Another confessed a case of alcoholism. On one of her feet read a note that said, 'I like feet' and inside one knee someone wrote, 'Good luck.'
Others weren't as kind. One person wrote, 'weirdo.'
A man who would only identify himself as Zach wished himself a 'Happy Birthday' on her shoulder.
"I think it's freedom of expression," said Zach, "She's out here respecting the First Amendment."
"We've had about 50 people come up and write or take pictures," said Sininger's classmate Danielle Gehler, "We're doing this as an assignment for our performing arts project."
Gehler, who was also covered in marker, wrote characteristics about herself and then got reaction from those who read it.
As for Sininger, she believes the stranger who confesses is -- in this case -- the artist. She described her own exposure as liberating.
"When I first started I would smile every time someone would come and write on me," said Sininger, "And they would be like, 'Oh does that tickle?' But the fact that it was so liberating -- I had no idea what was going on around me and then having someone come up and write their feelings on me is the most liberating feeling that I've felt."
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