How Can We Merge Our Digital and Physical Communities?

MIMMI is an emotional gateway to Minneapolis, bringing residents and visitors together to experience – and participate in – the collective mood of the city. MIMMI engages both the virtual and physical layers of the community, using technology to see the city in a new way and also reinforce the serendipitous gathering that has characterized urban life for millennia.

Photo courtesy Meet Minneapolis.

Photo courtesy Meet Minneapolis.

MIMMI (the Minneapolis Interactive Macro-Mood Installation) is a large, air pressurized sculpture suspended from a slender structure located at the Minneapolis Convention Center Plaza. Cloud-like in concept, the sculpture hovers 30 feet above the ground, gathering emotive information online from Minneapolis residents and visitors to the plaza. MIMMI analyzes this information in real-time, creating abstracted light displays and triggering misting in response to this input, creating light shows at nighttime and cooling microclimates during the daytime. Whether the city is elated following a Minnesota Twins win or frustrated from the afternoon commute, MIMMI responds, changing behavior throughout the day and night.

We see this as a productive response to how cities and societies have evolved in relation to ubiquitous digital media, taking advantage of the new abilities and insight such technology provides, while working to balance those privileges with new responsibilities as cities change. With more of the planet becoming urban, as well as modified by human activity, the state of the city and our use of resources must respond. MIMMI is designed to merge the discussions of digital technology, resource use and a densifying urban environment, creating an enjoyable place to gather and see the city in a new way while exploring shifting cultures and responsibilities.


To understand the city’s mood, MIMMI sources information from local Twitter feeds and uses textual analysis to detect the emotion of those tweets using open source technology. By aggregating the positivity and negativity of tweets in real-time, MIMMI transmits the abstracted emotion of the city to a series of wifi-enabled LED bulbs and integrated water misting system.

The low-energy lights, hung inside of the sculpture material and stretching throughout the entire shape, display the mood beginning at sunset. The color of the lights shifts from cool colors (negative) to warm and hot colors (positive) depending on the mood, with rate of the lights’ change depending on the rate of tweets. Water activity occurs during the day through tubing and nozzles embedded in the fabric of the sculpture. 

A snapshot of the mood of the city.

A snapshot of the mood of the city.


Visitors to the plaza form an integral part of MIMMI’s behavior, as they are able to interact with MIMMI and help affect the mood. If the city mood is particularly “sad” or emotional for any particular reason, visitors to the plaza can come together to lift MIMMI’s (and the city’s collective) spirits, as MIMMI can detect movement at the plaza and include this information in its analytics. The more people present and moving around under the cloud, the more active MIMMI will become, responding  with increased lighting or misting depending on the time of day. Dance, high activity and movement will positively affect MIMMI’s mood and misting displays.


Essential to the design is MIMMI’s recyclability and resource use. The energy required in the lighting and fans to inflate the sculpture is minimal, equivalent to less than a tenth of a household’s average daily use. The water system, while creating pleasant microclimates in the summer, utilizes less water and energy than a typical household will during an equal time frame, enabling the large inflatable to use far fewer resources than a common home would on a daily basis.

All components of MIMMI will be reused or recycled after the completion of the display. The material the sculpture is created from was chosen specifically to serve as rain gear after the installation; dozens of ponchos, created by local fashion designer Drew Kleiner, will be made from the cloud after the installation is completed and sold. All steel will be recycled, and the foundations put in place for the installation will remain for future installation and events at the plaza.

MIMMI was developed with INVIVIA: Bradley Cantrell, Peter Mabardi, Artem Melikyan, Allen Sayegh, Yuichiro Takeuchi, and Ziyi Zhang. See Contributors page for links.

Courtesy Kristin Maywire.

Courtesy Kristin Maywire.