[Interview conducted by Ariana Jacob]
Michael Rakowitz first came to the attention of the art world in the winter of 1998, when a project called paraSITE began appearing on the streets of Cambridge, and Boston, Massachusetts. It was a series of inflatable plastic homeless shelters, each one tailored to the individual specifications of its occupant designed to inflate by latching on to heat-exhaust ducts on the sides of buildings, swiping the escaping hot air and rerouting it to provide warmth for those living on the streets.Born and raised in New York, Rakowitz work is informed by an idiosyncratic blend of performance, sculpture and graphic design; its activism is filtered through a highly aesthetic artifice. His projects, which weave together historical information and politics, are marked by a profound emotional depth. He is now on faculty at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.