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About the project Edit

Michael Rakowitz’s (P)LOT project is a car-shaped tent that restores parking spaces to pedestrians as street-side camping. Constructed with a standard two-person tent and a commercially-available car cover, any model of car can be reproduced to blend in with a national style or fashion. (P)LOT is an ongoing public art project by Michael Rakowitz. His goal: to encourage society to reconsider what is considered a “legitimate” use city space. In other words, camping in a parking space.

In what ways is this project unique and creative? Edit

(P)LOT, just like Rakowitz' other project paraSITE, uses temporary, portable structures to reveal the complex ways in which public and private space are distributed in contemporary cities. Rakowitz designed an ingenious collapsible framework meant to fit standard, commercially produced car covers. When set up on the street, (P)LOT becomes a tent that looks like a car, creating a new kind of urban camouflage. As with the paraSITE, the whole system collapses into a carrying case for easy portability.

What is the social value of this project? Edit

(P)LOT questions the occupation and dedication of public space and encourages reconsiderations of "legitimate" participation in city life. Contrary to the common procedure of using municipal parking spaces as storage surfaces for vehicles, (P)LOT proposes the rental of these parcels of land for alternative purposes. The acquisition of municipal permits and simple payment of parking meters could enable citizens to, for example, establish temporary encampments or use the leased ground for different kinds of activities, such as temporary gardens, outdoor dining, game playing, etc. A first initiative for this re-dedication is realized through the conversion of ordinary car covers to portable tents for use as living units or leisure spaces. Ranging from a common sedan to a luxurious Porsche or Lexus, the tents enable a broadcast of desire within the marginalized space of need. The Porsche tent was stolen, but others continue to be used.

Michael Rakowitz uses both practical and metaphoric strategies to call attention to social needs. His work has had a strong (but not exclusive) emphasis on inequities within the built environment, such as the inaccessibility of affordable shelter or access to private space in most cities, or the imploded legacy of failure within America's public housing system. His hybrid art practice draws on a variety of other disciplines-design, architecture, urban planning, history, activism-and has so far included sculpture, site-specific architectural intervention, performance, and installation. In some cases his projects are designed solely for presentation within gallery spaces. Others are meant to function outside, often by offering temporary, imperfect solutions that simultaneously fill needs and bring attention to untenable situations.

What is the potential of this project to expand and develop? Edit

As the title suggests, the piece is currently a pilot project; (P)LOT could eventually usurp the usual function of parking lots and metered spaces by transforming them into ersatz camping sites: P(LOT) users-pilots-would rent plots of city land for their own temporary, private, and independent purposes.

What was the triggering factor of this project? Edit

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What is the business model of this project? Edit


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