The Creative City Challenge is a competition for Minnesota-resident architects, landscape architects, urban designers, planners, engineers, scientists, artists, students and individuals of all backgrounds to create and install at the Minneapolis Convention Center Plaza a temporary, destination artwork, which acts as a sociable and participatory platform for summer-long onsite programing and encourages a sense of connectedness to the city as a whole and its rich cultural and natural offerings.
Below are our past winners of this competition.
2013 CREATIVE CITY CHALLENGE WINNER - MIMMI
Minneapolis Interactive Macro Mood Installation, or MIMMI, is an emotional gateway to Minneapolis, bringing residents and visitors together to experience – and participate in – the collective mood of the city. MIMMI seeks to engage 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.
MIMMI 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.
MIMMI’s design team sees it 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.
2014 CREATIVE CITY CHALLENGE WINNER - BALANCING GROUND
Amanda Lovelee, Kyle Waites, Sarah West & Christopher Field
Balancing Ground is both a playful space and a vibrant sculpture that can be activated by 1 or 100 people. It will be built on the foundation of community voices talking about balance in life and work. If you are willing to listen, Balancing Ground will literally speak to you.
A skeletal wooden structure houses six rows of five-foot-long pairs of wood benches and six ten-foot-long playground-style teeter-totters. These dynamic see-saws (driven by individual Arduino processors and accelerometers) allow people to play with physical balance and also to hear and to reflect on certain words and phrases that are evocative of balance–audio files are triggered as people go up and down, evoking a dialogue between the two sides. The voices will range from a square dance caller talking about the trust needed between partners on the dance floor, to a horticulturalist describing the stress on apple trees and the sweetness of their fruit when they are out of balance, to a local professor who writes about the ever-changing role of the Mississippi river for Twin Cities residents. It will take a city to build our sculpture.
Inside the space, specialized directional speakers play longer fragments of conversations and interviews about balance in tight, narrow beams of sound that can only be heard while in specific areas. This provides an intimacy to the act of hearing; one can hear a voice just above a whisper while the sound doesn’t spill out loud into the public space.
The installation gently reacts to the natural light transitions of the day through the lengthening and shortening of the structure’s many shadows, accentuated by the structure’s placement on the plaza. A canopy of prisms and reflective fragments are strung between the rafters casting bits of the rainbow spectrum down to the seating area below. The structure, proportions and fractured light suggest a sacred space deconstructed to its most elemental architectural components.
As the sun sets, theatrical lights illuminate the structure and the reflective materials of the canopy above, transforming the structure into an enlivened environment and an inverted silhouette of the intricate overhead patterns and shapes.
We hope that our proposal presents a space that has beauty, meaningful interactivity and playful participation. We’re interested in mixing movements that are calm and active and hope that in this space it is possible for people to successfully activate in large groups or as an individual; again calling back to the notion of a community or the sacred spaces of our cities where there is the possibility to have a moment of epiphany, whether the place is full or whether you’re the only one there.
Throughout the summer we plan to regularly activate the space with public events, including first Sundays with the Gorilla Yogis, square dances led by a local caller and band and community sings!
At the conclusion of the summer installation, the materials from the installation will be donated to Habitat for Humanity so that Balancing Ground will give back to the city that supported it.
2015 CREATIVE CITY CHALLENEGE WINNER - mini_polis
Niko Kubota, Jon Reynolds and Micah Roth
mini_polis is a scale model of downtown Minneapolis built in collaboration with community participants in a series of “build workshops.” We will collect place-based hopes and memories at the workshops and create a multimedia interface within the finished city model to share these stories. The completed mini_polis will be a physical platform for activities, from city classroom to stage set, and a magnet for social media.
mini_polis is a 50’ diameter map of Downtown Minneapolis, installed on the front yard of the Convention Center. The base is a low wood platform that the miniature buildings are secured to, and ADA-accessible “highways” ramp up to and over. About half of these buildings are built by participants at workshops, and are decorated with various wood pieces and writing describing the builder’s dreams for the city. Other buildings carry the dreams of residents who were not able to attend workshops, but wrote in their responses. The streetscape of mini_polis is painted with chalkboard paint, allowing visitors to respond to builder’s dreams, as well as make their own place-specific comments about the city.
At night, internal LED lights brighten the windows of many of the buildings, twinkling on an off on a programmed pattern controlled by an Arduino circuit. When a visitor approaches the multimedia station and presses a button, the lights go off, then prerecorded audio plays, telling the stories and dreams of building workshop participants as their neighborhood light up.
mini_polis is a vehicle to carry builders’ and visitors’ voices, but it is also a physical platform for understanding the city. The simple act of walking along a walkway and looking down on the buildings nearby allows a viewer to see the whole neighborhood unhurriedly, unlike the limited view they get when they drive that real highway in a car. We hope mini_polis will inspire all kinds of people to come up with their own uses and activities.
More information on Mini_polis >>>