You could describe Red Bull Kluge very simply as a machine. But there is nothing simple about Red Bull Kluge. Among its parts are 11 world-class athletes, a crew of 100 people, three half-pipes, a skateboard, an off-road truck, a dirt bike, a helicopter and a bowling ball purchased from Craigslist.
Captured in a four-minute video filmed inside an airplane hangar, Red Bull Kluge is the brainchild of Adam Sadowsky, co-founder of Syyn Labs, the creative collective best known for producing OK Go's magical music video for 'This Too Shall Pass.'
Sadowsky has been obsessed with the fusion of science and art since he “was like 2 years old,” he says. Growing up in Los Angeles, he built drink-pouring machines and monster-catching traps that enthralled him to the point where his mother let him skip school and visit the Museum of Science and Industry.
He studied drama and electrical engineering at University of Southern California then worked in real estate, video games, and genetics research before co-founding Syyn Labs. It was here where he entered the world of kluge, which he defines as “the use of technology to demonstrate scientific principals in an artful way.”
In various basements, garages, and warehouses, Sadowsky built smaller-scale machines from found objects and everyday appliances. Tapes of the “performances” soon found art and science circles and were circulating a la old Bill Hicks bootlegs -- guarded by passionate fans. Among those fans were members of the Chicago band OK Go. They hired him for the 'This Too Shall Pass' video, which made him and his machines famous.
That was 2010. Two years later, he got the call from Red Bull. Instructions were basic: Build a machine in a huge space with some of the top athletes in their field and film what happens. The space was the old El Toro Marine Corps Air Station near Irvine, California. Sadowsky visited the grounds with his headphones and sketchbook.
“It starts out with, 'Let's throw stuff at the wall -- let's come up with things that would just be interesting to see,'" he said. "Then it's 'What do the athletes look like? How do they move and what do they do?' Then it's connecting each part for each athlete... What are we going to build that connects Joey (Brezinski) to Rickie (Fowler)? Now then let's see if that can agree to a piece of music. OK, great. And now then we'll start rejiggering based on camera space and camera movement. And now we're ready to start building.”
The other athletes in Red Bull Kluge are skater Ryan Sheckler, hurdler and bobsledder Lolo Jones, skydiver Sean MacCormac, BMX rider Drew Bezanson, street trial biker Danny MacAskill, drift car driver Rhys Millen, off-road truck champion Bryce Menzies, freestyle motocross legend Robbie Maddison and snowboarder Pat Moore.
There was much to do. The El Toro Air Station has no electricity or plumbing, so materials and generators were trucked in. The production charged up a massive bill at a nearby Home Depot and enlisted the help of Jack Murphy Productions (which built the ramps for Travis Pastrana's world-record Red Bull: New Year. No Limits jump). An impromptu shop was set up in the building's corner. Seventeen days and 3,422 man-hours later, they were ready to shoot.
Filming took four hours. The video speaks for itself, for more on Red Bull Kluge click HERE.
Follow Red Bull on Twitter for more updates.
- Watch some serious BMX insanity in Paris
- Ryan Decenzo hits the top secret Red Bull Skate House
- Amazing 360-degree POV from a speeding F1 racecar