The Modeling Kivalina project will construct a physical model of the Island of Kivalina in Alaska using the shoreline as a focal point to draw out its relationships to the institutional, legal, and environmental forces operative in this region. The model aims to become an alternative forum for Kivalina to activate conversations around fundamental rights of indigenous peoples in the United States and the need to promote equal access to civil justice. This summer our aim in Kivalina is to research the issue of relocation in relation to the impacts of climate change. Because the island of Kivalina is becoming a model of this phenomenon, we intend to learn from it as an entity, as a system which we will to replicate into a physical model to hold discussions around.
In the model’s first iteration we will focus on the conflict of the ever-blurring border between earth and water in relation the evolution of the property structures of Alaskan Natives. We will model the full length of the seawall which protects the shoreline from complete destruction, constructing cross sections of the terrain that connect the shoreline to the structures built along its immediate edge in order to identify the individuals and agencies located along this interface. These points of intersection will show lines of risk and responsibility in emergency and everyday situations that extend outward from Kivalina’s shoreline to places that connect the island to a wider community of stakeholders operating at local, regional, federal, and global levels.
The project of Modeling Kivalina is an initiative of five researchers based out of the Centre for Research Architecture in Goldsmiths College. The project is funded by the World Justice Project and Forensic Architecture. Forensic Architecture is a European Research Council funded project (2011-2014) hosted by the Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths University of London, within the Department of Visual Cultures. Read more here.