Big Game - CODAworx

Big Game

Client: Anchorage 1% for Art Program

Location: Anchorage, AK, United States

Completion date: 2011

Artwork budget: $155,000

Project Team


Nelson Franklin

Franklin % Assoc

studio managment

Bruce Farnsworth

Sheila Wyne Studios


Comedia dell’arte from a Northern perspective.

Historically actors and acrobats dressed in the masked Comedia dell’arte theater style. We remember these characters through the Harlequin, who was a light-hearted, nimble, and astute servant. This improvisational theater presented many characters to create a living, breathing event, to provide informed entertainment for the public. Stilts were often used as part of the event.

Big Game references this particular past art form of the Commedia dell’arte. 
It alludes to the present in the masks of 3 animals in our northern landscape – the lynx, caribou and king eider. These animals all need specific environments to thrive. The lynx needs space and solitude. The caribou needs safe, open borders to migrate. The King Eider needs clean and abundant Arctic seas to thrive.

Big Game projects a future through these androgynous human figures, when the present generation has their moment to stride across the land. This teenage generation will have to balance what we love in our northern environment with what we need from this land. They inherit the biggest challenge in modern human history – that of climate change and all the attendant responsibilities for other species. It is the biggest game we ever faced.


The goal was to celebrate the joy and fearlessness of this young generation by providing them symbols of their know, Northern world. They know there’s a hard path ahead but they are acclimated and ready to tackle the issues of climate change. They'll do it using their generation's improvisational skills, fresh perspective and unique sense of style.


Every aspect of this project was created, fabricated within Anchorage.
Engineering for wind, snow loads and foundations.
Steel fabrication of the stilts and interior armature of the figures.
A urethane foam company sprayed the mass for the the body.
Then a company of Northern artists -
• sculpted the foam
• fiber glassed the figures
• applied mosaics and grouted the figures
Installation provided by an Anchorage builder.

Additional Information

painted steel, fiberglass, glass mosaic 3 works / each piece - 24’ x 3’ x 8’ Dimond High School / Anchorage, AK