Candy Chang was invited by the Alaska Design Forum to create a public art project on the tallest building in Fairbanks. The Polaris Building was once an apartment complex, then a hotel, and now it’s been vacant for more than a decade. To renew attention to the building, she installed a four-story sign that says “Looking for Love Again” to turn the building into an emotional beacon. Two chalkboards at the street level invite people to share their memories of the building and hopes for its future. Feedback from the project is being used by the developer and the downtown development association to inform next steps. By drawing attention to this neglected building and providing residents with a platform to share, the project explores the impact that buildings have on our lives and how they can become meaningful again.
2011. Industrial fabric (68′ x 36′), chalkboards (10′ x 30′), acrylic, high-rise. Fairbanks, Alaska, Commissioned by The Alaska Design Forum. Project coordination by David Hayden. Project assistance by Mike Hondel. Installation assistance by Bernie Baecker, Carol Hayden, Sean Hering, Kate Incarnato, Galen Lott, Dustin Miller, Jessica Nelson, Amy Nordrum, Ian Oleson, Sheri Oleson, Pat Rivera, Jack Schmid, Trent Schoenemann, Sue Sprinkle, Dave van den Berg, and Jared van deer Weele.
Within this space, themes already emerged. For memories:
Memories of the Tiki Bar on the top floor
Ghost story of room 303
Themes for hopes:
Desire for a grocery store
Desire for an Indian restaurant
Desire for modern apartments downtown
Photos of the process: