Jakob Wirth / Parasite Parking (Berlin)

Parasite Parking (2021) by artist Jakob Wirth

Parasite Parking is concerned with reclaiming public space. The project considers both vacant and privatized space, referring especially to the privatization of the parking spaces in the city of Chicago (leased to a private investor for 75 years until 2084) and the implicated loss of public governance of huge parts of the public space.

Conceptually, Parasite Parking questions who owns the city and who has access to it: not only in terms of access to housing, but also access to infrastructure, to the design of the public space and to the political decisions that determine it. 

It seems to be obvious that space divides cities. Gentrification is a spatial phenomenon and one of the prominent dynamics currently leading to segregation, besides preceding mechanisms like redlining and racism. 

Within the time of the exhibition, I will inhabit 5 different parking spaces in 5 different neighborhoods and stay at each of them for at least 24 hours. There, I will work, sleep, socialize, and practice my daily routine. In occupying these spaces, I will turn a public space into something private, and at the same time reclaim the private space of a parking space as a collective good that could be used, for example, for housing, organizing, leisure, community-building and discourse. 

Apart from living there, I will collaborate, on each site, with a different local partner to organize, together, a communal activity, such as panel discussions, workshops, or radio broadcasting live from that specific parking space. Through diverse and specific engagements in each parking space, the project will address different issues of use and right to the urban environment and space.

By literally living in these parking spaces, I intend to visualize and discuss these topics in a radically public form. The logic behind this occupation is that renting a parking space for a month straight comes out cheaper than renting a room for a month in most inner Chicago neighborhoods. It is more difficult to afford the space for a human being to live than to pay out the  space for a vehicle. 

Parasite Parking, neighborhoods map

BIO: Jakob Wirth is an artist, activist, and sociologist, whose focus of work is the public space. He chooses his artistic language processual according to the context and topic he is working with. It expands from Performance Art, Video, Social Practice and direct Guerrilla Interventions. His main interest is to intertwine the artistic field with politics and “everyday realities,” by hijacking unknown systems and challenging the boarders of norms. His aesthetic momentum lies therefore in an action’s capacity to shift our empirical realities, by using and further twisting their own language and vocabulary.

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