Sunday, November 23, 2008

The ParaSITE: Inflatable Homeless Shelters

Artist Michael Rakowitz recently developed ParaSITE as a response to the ongoing neglect of the homeless in America's major cities. These custom built inflatable shelters come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and attach to the exterior vents of most buildings' Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems. The warm air leaving the building both inflates and heats the double membrane structure of each shelter. 30 of the ParaSITE structures have already been distributed to homeless people in NYC and Boston.

NYC currently has a number of "anti-tent" laws signed in by Guiliani, but the flexibility of the ParaSITE allows people like Michael, above, to rest comfortably on 28th and 9th in Manhattan. Though he was questioned by police a number of times, upon measuring the structure they moved on, finding nothing illegal about it.

I just hope NYC teenagers, the most vicious little buggers on earth, can leave these things alone. Highly doubtful, since sleeping in an oversized ribbed condom attached to a heating vent isn't really the best way to avoid attention.

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