MIMMI (Minneapolis Interactive Macro-Mood Installation) was an interactive urban intervention at the Minneapolis Convention Center on display over the summer of 2013. MIMMI was designed as an emotional gateway to Minneapolis, bringing residents and visitors together to experience – and participate in – the collective mood of the city. MIMMI connected the virtual and physical layers of the community, while proposing a new model for public space that could reinforce and augment the serendipitous gatherings that have characterized urban life for millennia. In a time when people can be instantaneously connected with each other anywhere in the world, while simultaneously distanced from those physically closest to us, MIMMI questioned this paradox by merging the virtual and physical layers of the community.
MIMMI’s cloud-like inflated fabric form hovered 30 feet above the ground from cables and slender steel posts, making it visible from several blocks away. MIMMI analyzed emotive language in real-time from Twitter and broadcast it back to the city through an abstracted colorful light display as well as interactive misting behavior depending on the community’s emotions and activity. Whether the city was elated leading into a long holiday weekend or frustrated from the evening commute, MIMMI reflected these emotional fluctuations. Physical visitors to the plaza formed an integral part of MIMMI’s behavior, too, as they were able to interact with and affect MIMMI’s behavior though physical motion. Visitors physically or online were given a new way to experience the city as its mood fluctuated along the color spectrum.
As our digital technologies are challenging designers to reconsider urban spaces and social norms, what takes place in our public squares increasingly affects what happen online and vice versa. MIMMI was a call to embrace this opportunity and more fully bring together our physical and virtual communities.