My first impression of Minneapolis was of isolation—oddly uninhabited for such a populous place. No graffiti, no neon colors, no mess I associate with large cities such as Portland, Seattle or San Francisco. Everything seemed ordered, as if the city was designed by a single architecture firm obsessed with art deco and a directive to put outlandish angles all over everything. The visual consistency is surprising, not something I expected.
Spending a few days walking around downtown a narrative started to resolve. This is a city that has extremely cold weather. Almost no store fronts exist facing the streets downtown, everything is connected via skyways or underground tunnels to allow you to not go outside. I was struck by how much it felt like the deserts of the Southwest. The feeling that life is everywhere, but somehow reminds totally hidden.
I was left feeling exposed but dazzled by the isolation on the outside, even the roads are covered in specks of salt, diamonds beaming in the sun. Something is happening in Minneapolis, something one could watch on its numerous security cameras. It’s a story about arctic winters, corporate culture and staying hidden in plain sight.