Red Bull Creation is a 72-hour innovation competition that gathers Artists, Makers, and Hackers to create something new in response to a specific design challenge or topic. The ongoing event is produced by New Creatures in partnership with Red Bull.
In its 6th edition, we brought Red Bull Creation home to Oakland, CA. And the theme is fitting: Bridges Over Walls. Red Bull Creation 2018 has two key differences: (1) individuals apply instead of teams, and (2) all Participants are local to the Bay Area. What this means is that the teams are made up of strangers who never have worked together, and likelihood of fostering future relationships and collaborations is greatly increased. We worked hard to bring as much skill diversity as possible to the "un-competition;" a team may include a metalworker, a software programmer, a social engagement artist, and a carpenter!
On June 18, Participants met their teammates at the Team Announcement Party - and learned the design challenge. These experts came together across age, gender, culture, discipline, and geography to respond to this year's challenge:
Build a Creation that connects strangers in public space.
After 3 full days of brainstorming, designing, prototyping, refining, and making, 35 exhausted Participants were high on collaborative accomplishment. All agreed they built countless intangible bridges to overcome both internal and interpersonal walls, and walked away having gained new self-awareness and friendships.
Immediately following the live build, teams presented their Creations to the esteemed judges. Then we revealed their 10 interactive Creations to the public and announced winners at the afternoon street party... complete with live DJ sets by Oakland favorites the B-Side Brujas and Indy Nyles, as well as a special panel hosted by Gray Area Foundation for the Arts exploring the power of public art and technology to build community.
Less than one week later, Participants were proud to put their Creations to the true test -- 10,000 strangers attending Oakland's First Friday Art Walk. I overheard one attendee say, "These inventions are so cool. And I love how you can hear a sea of giggles at every piece!" Success.