A special project of the Alaska Design Forum, taking place in August & September 2012.

Project Brief

In Northwest Alaska sea levels are rising and permafrost is melting, and entire villages are falling into the sea. The isolated whaling community of Kivalina, home to around 400 people, is facing imminent relocation and the need for viable futures is urgent. For a host of reasons, previous relocation efforts in Kivalina are stalled, leaving the community looking for alternatives. ReLOCATE is a group of social artists from around the world working with a group of delegates from Kivalina to initiate a new, community-led and culturally specific relocation.

Using social arts methods and online media, ReLOCATE is building artistic and web-based platforms that intend to make the social, political, and environmental issues related to relocation visible to global audiences; support community discussion and consensus building; locate, connect and educate new relocation partners; create spaces where people in Kivalina can share original media and ideas about local identities and ways of life; and develop an infrastructure for managing global support and pursuing relocation planning opportunities.

The project website is at


  • August 18 – September 5 2012
    The KVAK team from California College of the Arts will be in Kivalina producing a local youth online storytelling platform. Kivalina residents between the ages of 12-25 are invited to participate and will be uploading video vignettes. Check out the KVAK website.
  • August 27 – September 5, 2012
    ReLOCATE project participants will be working in Kivalina. During this time project participants will be meeting with village residents, working toward their project goals, observing, listening, documenting and archiving the experiences on the ReLOCATE website.
  • September 6-8 2012
    ReLOCATE project participants will participate in the Next North symposium at the Anchorage Museum, for an “in-depth discussion of the primary issues facing the North today”.
  • September 2012 – October 2013
    The ADF will produce a project catalog and short film to capture and communicate the project findings.
  • Ongoing
    Web-based platforms created for ReLOCATE will be accessible to Kivalina residents, project partners, and the world to further the discussion about the built environment in Northern Alaska.



Since 1993 and on invitation from different art and design institutions, the artist group WochenKlausur has been developing concrete proposals for improvements to socio-political deficiencies and living conditions with communities worldwide. Proceeding even further, the group invariably translates these proposals into action.

The first WochenKlausur project succeeded in making medical care available to homeless people in Vienna, Austria. Since then, many of their interventions have addressed issues related to the built environment. For Example, this year WochenKlausur activated a structure in Holon, Israel to provide home improvements, at no cost, to residents in need and in New York City they organized a series of presentations from organizations, associations, interest groups and activists dealing with housing issues in urban environments.

The group has completed thirty-five interventions to date, conducted by alternating artistic teams who believe that artistic creativity is no longer seen as a formal act but as an intervention into society. Our team includes Hannah Öllinger, Claudia Eipeldauer, Alon Schwabe, and Nisan Almog.

  • Hannah Rosa Öllinger was born 1987 in Korneuburg, has been studying stage and set design at the University of applied arts/ Vienna since 2006 and currently works as a sculpture, costume and stage designer in Vienna.
  • Claudia Eipeldauer studied in Vienna (Austria) and Berlin (Germany). She has a Master’s degree in Media and Communication Science and has been a member of the artist group WochenKlausur for many years. Together with WochenKlausur she established a design-workshop for former drug addicts in Vienna (Austria), a cinema program for migrants in Limerick (Ireland), and an upcycling-network for social institutions in Chicago (USA). In spring 2010 she was invited to teach the course “Art and Social Context” at Alfred University (USA). She also worked for design-, theatre- and architecture groups, for the exhibition department of The House of World Cultures in Berlin and as a journalist.
  • Alon Schwabe is an urban theater artist and place maker. Schwabe has been creating performances, urban interventions and large place-making events; examining the role that art takes in the development of the city landscape and its effect on urban behavior, whether it be physical, social, structural and/or political. Throughout his projects, he aims to create a new social space where people can gain awareness of their home surroundings, take an active role in shaping their lives and the future of their cities.
  • Nisan Almog is an urban innovator, researcher and social entrepreneur, interested in the relations between new media and participatory urban planning practice for spatial conflicts mediation.

Sharon Daniel

Sharon Daniel is Professor of Film and Digital Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz where she teaches classes in digital media theory and practice. Her research involves collaborations with local and on-line communities, which exploit information and communications technologies as new sites for “public art.” Daniel’s role as an artist is that of “context provider” — assisting communities, collecting their stories, soliciting their opinions on politics and social justice, and building the online archives and interfaces that make this data available across social, cultural and economic boundaries. Her goal is to avoid representation – not to attempt to speak for others but to allow them to speak for themselves. Daniel’s work has been exhibited internationally at museums, festivals including the Corcoran Biennial, the University of Paris, the Dutch Electronic Arts Festival, Ars Electronica and the Lincoln Center Festival as well as on the Internet.

California College of the Arts (CCA)

KVAK is a storytelling website, run by young people from Kivalina, about what life is like in the village and their thoughts about relocation. The KVAK team will conduct workshops where young people learn the skills they need, both creative and technical, to tell their own story. The CCA team has built an innovative website that will host the show and are donating all of the cameras and equipment needed to support KVAK

  • Floris Schonfeld is in an MFA program studying film and video whose focus has been studying the relationship between fiction and faith. Schonfeld has engaged in educational projects in Ghana, Haiti and the Netherlands.
  • Teresa Baker is studying painting for her MFA and has a background performing in theater and fabricating and designing sets.
  • Jesus Landin-Torrez III is pursuing his MFA in Social Practice. His main interest is teaching through the creative act. His work is experiential and collaborative in many forms.
  • Steve Sanchez is pursuing his BFA with a focus in furniture making. He studies human behavior and relationships with material culture and is exploring “making” as a way and communicate with people.


Civilization is a versatile and innovative creative agency that provides a full-scope of strategic marketing, creative and technology services including: Branding, Print, Web Design / Development, UX, Interaction Design, Video Production, Social Media Marketing, Event Production and more. They are tasked with creating a robust website for the multimedia deliverables of the project to reside and provide interaction for the community with a global audience.

Jen Marlow

Jen Marlow co-founded Three Degrees, a multidisciplinary climate justice project, and is an Affiliate Professor at the University of Washington School of Law in Seattle. She has worked extensively with communities who are being affected by climate change worldwide, including a relocating island community off the coast of New Guinea. Jen graduated from Middlebury College in 2002 with a degree in environmental studies and literature, and earned her J.D. from the University of Washington School of Law in 2010. Prior to law school, Jen worked as an editor at Orion magazine and as a writer and editor at Ecotrust.