Four Haiku for RedBall, Toledo’s Most Restless Public Art Installation

Video still from RedBall's escape, from Instagram user jeremy419.

Video still from RedBall‘s escape, from Instagram user jeremy419.

This week, a 250-pound inflatable red ball that has been installed at various locations across Toledo, Ohio—part of an exhibition at the Toledo Museum of Art called “Play Time”—escaped from its static post at Roulet Jewlers on Madison Avenue in that city. The red ball made it as far as the next street corner, before a small crowd chasing after it managed to kill its all-too-brief liberty. The red ball bounced around among some cars, and seems to have damaged a street sign. Everything was captured in an amazing video posted on Instagram documenting the beginning and end of the red ball’s autonomy, to which I can only say, That’s life, giant inflatable red ball. The moment independence presents itself, the hegemonic system is there to beat you back into callous submission. The red ball, a piece by artist Kurt Perschke, is, in the words of local paper The Toledo Blade, “meant to draw attention to city spaces often overlooked by its residents.” Having the ball slowly amble, Raiders of the Lost Ark-like, down a mostly empty Toledo street seems a bit too on the nose, but here we are. Also pretty on the nose is the artwork’s name: RedBall. Herewith, an appreciation.


RedBall rolls, wind-blown
It is good you are hollow
And no one was killed.


Could you taste freedom
As you rounded the corner,
Hitting that sedan?


Your short-lived sojourn
Had but one accomplishment:
You bent a street sign.


Dust yourself off now,
You’re on view through the weekend.
Get back in your place.

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