PARAsite, by Michael Rakowitz


“George L.’s paraSITE shelter. Made on a budget of $5.00 from trash bags, ZipLoc bags, and clear waterproof packing tape. George requested a system of “ribs” that would be made of semi-translucent trash bags. In between the ribs, he wanted windows to expose the “meat” between the bones.”

Artist:Michael Rakowitz

Title: PARAsite

Year created: 1998 – ongoing

Location: various urban sites in Boston, New York City, Baltimore & Berlin,

Materials: trash bags, ZipLoc bags, and clear waterproof packing tape.

What is the piece’s impact? Provides legal shelter to those without homes. Many cities have anti-tent by-laws, but if the shelter is small enough, it’s not breaking any rules.

How does this project relate to this change as art? It demonstrates that with some thought, very little material, and waste heat one can bring some comfort to people living on the street. Draws attention to the conditions of those living on the street, as well as to the waste heat emitted from so many buildings.

What makes this an artistic project? The project was initiated and executed by an artist.

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