Nov 29, 2008

Red Bull Wisdom

Last summer, the people at Red Bull erected giant black cubes on the Stone Arch bridge for their traveling "Illume" exhibit. This entailed illuminated photos of extreme people doing extreme things in natural settings, which is consistent with the branding Red Bull pays so much attention to.

I debated about posting the link to the exhibit since it would only promote the product and event, but in the end, I decided to provide it.

At the time these were going up, I was pretty outraged.  I dragged Molly down there on a really hot day and took these photos, thinking I was going to post a pithy condemnation of Red Bull using our public space to promote their products to the people of Minneapolis.  

It was pretty flagrant, in retrospect. They dropped these things right in the middle of the bike lanes and put up signs up asking everyone to be careful.

However, something came up and I never got to that post. Eventually the things came down and I kind of forgot all about it. Until I came across these photos from last summer.

What strikes me this time around was how time blunts ones reaction to things.  This Illume exhibit really kind of pissed me off when it got installed, but that sense of indignation was eroded rather quickly by the more mundane, day-to-day issues of modern life.  Now that it's been about 5 or 6 months, it's like this never happened.  Kind of makes me glad I did not pitch a fit, but also makes me wonder if anything I think is important now will really matter in a year as well.

I kind of like the photos - some local lefty paper asked for permission to use one or two for an article they were going to do on the exhibit.  I gave them permission but never followed up to see if they used any of them.  The full size versions of these are on the Flickr site.

That's it. Don't take anything too seriously.


  1. My first earnest blogging effort involved expressing a lot of outrage (mostly exaggerated). My policy was to write and post in quick succession, and never edit or retract. The scorched earth approach was popular, as measured by hit counts and comments. It bothered me after awhile that people who read my blog would meet me in person and be surprised that I wasn't angry or sullen.

    Now I tend to write and save without posting. After a good night's sleep, I tend to delete rather than publish whatever I'd written. Somehow, what seemed pertinent or profound when I was writing it seemed silly or wrong-headed a few hours or days later. Probably 2/3 of my more serious posts never get read by anyone but me (and the government).

    There's sort of a Zen thing to your fleeting anger over the Red Bull what have you. Nothing persists.

  2. That's wise. I should do more of that. I find I suffer from posting and then re-reading and editing my posts. I think the trick is to get it out and NOT POST, then reflect, re-evaluate and revise (the "three R''s" of literature). I am more of an immediate gratification type and tend to post then evaluate.

  3. I wouldn't second guess blogging about Red Bull's "art" display on the Stone Arch Bridge last summer. The MPLS Park Board received just $25K for this. At least one person viewing the "art" was hit by a bicycle, according to It was a bad idea all the way around, IMO. It could have been set up somewhere else.