Giant art cloud will reflect Minneapolis's changing moods

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  • March 11, 2013 - 10:12 AM




A rendering of MIMMI, the winning public-art project for the Minneapolis Convention Center's first Creative CIty Challenge.

Chicago's Millenium Park has The Bean, a giant silver sculpture that begs people to touch and play with it. In June, Minneapolis will one-up that with  MIMMI,  "The Minneapolis Interactive Macro Mood Installation," a giant fabric balloon, anchored by a metal framework, that will float 35 feet above the ground on the convention-center plaza and reflect the community's collective sad-mad-gladness like a giant mood ring. Its light displays changing color with the intensity of the emotion it "feels." If the Twins lose in a squeaker, it might glow red. If it's a rainy Monday morning, it might be blue. And there are microphones at the base if you want to try to influence things. It will also periodically drop mist onto people below it, just for added kicks.

A team including two young local architects (Jack Cochran and Carl Koepcke)  and the Cambridge, Mass-.based firm Invivia created the concept that beat out four other finalists in an online Facebook public vote. They will get $50,000 to create, install, and take down the artwork.

How can it possibly work? By using technology to combine the "virtual and physical layers" of the city to detect some sort of aggregate mood. Still confused?  Me, too, but the judges, inclduing City Council Member Lisa Goodman and U of M design-school dean Tom Fisher, were wowed enough by a demo to vote it in. 

What will be done in November, when the team has to take it down? "They're thinking of recycling it by making raincoats," said Gulgun Kayim, director of arts, culture and creative economy for the city.


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