Design Labs


Visiting artists, on the first evening of the symposium. L-R: Candy Chang, Mauricio Pezo, Iain Kerr (Spurse), Sofia von Ellrichshausen, Hasan Elahi, Blaine Merker (Rebar), Adam Green (Rebar).

Five teams of artists have been invited to Alaska to participate in the a series of Design Labs in five Alaskan Communities:

We’ve asked the artists to explore the state of “Common Space” found in these five distinct cultural and geographical environments across Alaska. Each community will take part in guiding their project, through host institutions, volunteers, public programs and events.


The COMMON SPACE Design Labs mobilize artists to discover contemporary culture’s new public paradigms in pursuit of criticism, celebration, and research. The map of Alaska’s common spaces is shared by globally recognized and regionally unique domains. The boulevard and the square, the bar and the pulpit, the airstrip and the shore, the ice pack and YouTube all stage our public lives in 2011.

These hyper-normal and regionally specific cultural environments harmonize as Alaska’s collective voice in a global dialogue on common space realities. With a sense of equal value for the human methods of sharing space and ideas in both the urban and rural environments, the Design Labs advance on the frontier.


These five artists will:

  • Travel to their assigned community and lead a week-long project (April 10-15, 2011) to reconfigure and reactivate marginal and residual public spaces with artworks or interactions.
  • Offer public presentations on their own work on Day 1 (April 8, 2011) of the COMMON SPACE Symposium.
  • Lead breakout sessions and present their planned community projects on Day 2 (April 9, 2011) of the Symposium.
  • Serve as jurors for the COMMON SPACE Statewide Design Challenge.