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Sketch of the MIMODEK on the facade of Medialab prado
Abinadi Meza, Lali Barriere, Marura.


Descripción del proyecto / Description of the project

MIMODEK is an interactive-evolving and changing “living” system, which is based on the principles of the natural world yet “grows” from the very fabric of the city. It is reflecting its own environment, as do all living systems in nature. It is not a growth simulation of a tree or other nature-mimicking imagery.

MIMODEK is introducing into the city some of those attributes from the natural world which are lacking. For example, the element of change, perhaps the core difference between the man-made and the natural environment. MIMODEK is also exploring the elements of interconnectivity, so essential in the natural world, but not always obvious in the urban environment. It is a meeting point between inhabitants of the Plaza De Las Letras and the digital organism embodied in its computer program.


Diffusion Limited Aggregation, a fractal growth model. See more here.
A living system of it's own that has inputs of the outside world, but it's created from the parameters the programmers have given it.
An aggrigation of mimos, some active and some ancestors.
Mimo (plural, Mimos) 
Visual representation (on the facade) of a person on the plaza. Former word which had the same meaning, but are not to be used anymore: blobs, cells or entities.
Active mimo : Mimo representing a person still present on the track able area.
Ancestor mimo : Mimo representing a person who has already left the track able area.
Connections between active mimos.
The Organism 
Formed by the ancestor mimos.
Track able area 
Area that's seen by the camera on the roof of Medialab-Prado, which is used for tracking.


Day #2 Testing the Display

Processing Code

Multiple blobs on the test screen of the facade.

Download the code as a zip-file.


a) run the code

b) test how the visuals work on the facade by

  • press 5 on the keyboard multiple times to get multiple blobs to the display
  • press 6 for moving blobs
  • press any letter to switch between displays

Day #3 Q&A

Properties of organic systems.
Research on organic systems.
Questions & Answers.

(Q)uestions from the tutors & (A)nswers from the collaborators

1. Q: What is the relation between people and data?

A: Mimodek is one living system formed/generated by people and data. Mimos are created by people (physical presence on the plaza) influenced by the data.

2. Q: What kind of properties does the models have?

A: The system is an aggregation of mimos, some active and some ancestors.

It grows and it decays in order to keep some equilibrium.

The growth and Decay of the presistent structure

1. Creation: DLA modification

2. Growing: DLA

3. Decay: (not decided yet, Friday's homework)

3. Q: What kind of interaction?

A: Four different kinds of interaction:

1. We track the movement of the people on the plaza. Movement creates movement of the mimos on the facade.

1.1 Social interaction between active mimos. (proximity)
1.2 velocity - sudden changes

2. Gathering of the people on the plaza creates tentacles and affect on the shape of mimos. Spreading affects / creates extra ancestor mimo.

3. when the person leaves the plaza, their mimo becomes an ancestor mimo. So the active mimo will morph.

4. Active mimos affect ancestor mimos - possibilities: some movement of the presistent structure like ripple or shiver.

4. Q: What kind of data do we use as an input?

A: At the moment we have three different kind of inputs:

  • Tracking, location and paths
  • Plaza, sensors (like sound detectors) - We decided not to use.
  • Information about the city, data taken from the web. It could be one of these:

I Social data like pachube (moodmap), age of people on the neighbourhood.

II Environmental data like weather.

III Movement like train schedules and traffic.

5. Draw some sketches.

^6.some more things to look into(Abi's suggestions): Monte Carlo methods (computational algorithms that rely upon repeated random sampling to compute results) markov chains (a system which can be in various states and which changes randomly in discrete steps)

CULTURAL ALGORITHMS -normative knowledge, situational knowledge, temporal knowledge, spatial knowledge
GENETIC ALGORITHMS - inheritance, mutation, selection, crossover

Day #4

MIMODEK has something similar in it's social interaction with the interactive artwork called White Square. In white square there are shadows of humans around you when you step on the white square. If you move on the white square close to another person, your shadows reach to the shadows of the other persons shadows.

In MIMODEK we have tentacles which act the same. They grow from the mimos and connect to the other mimos.

Storyborad of the first Mimos appearing on the screen.

Day #5

Example view of the simulator.
We thought it would be nice to give Mimodek a bit of wobbliness. We wrote a simulator to try that out.

Media:MimodekStructureSimulator.jar.zip First version of the simulator (executable JAR file).

Installation : Extract from ZIP archive, double click JAR file to launch
Instruction : Physics simulation for 'growing mimodek', first version.

  • Press space bar to toggle controls visibility.
  • Press reset if the simulation explodes or if you want to run the simulation with a different number of Mimos at the beginning.
  • When the controls are not showing you can drop mimos with the mouse : click to create a new mimo, click again to release it.

Day #6

Example from the spiral test
Example from the creature test

Media:Mimodek Creature.pde

Day #7

Sketch of tentacle possibility.


A more advanced version of the tentacles behaviour test


Day #8

Download from the wiki :Media:Mimodek.zip‎

The simulator is designed now to be 'Processing friendly'. It is now a sketch that you can run in the Processing environment.

  • Press SPACE to toggle the GUI and 'o' to show the animation in the screen resolution.
  • Put images you want to use as texture in the 'data/images/' inside the sketch folder (use PNG format for transparency, try to crop them tight, they will be automatically re-sized in the program).


Processing sketches for the ancestor mimos movement:


Friday evening test:

size of dot : 2.86

scale of radius: 1.13

number of dots: 200, 133, 75

Testig colors with linear and sine gradients:


Code for creating colour range for MIMOS. It prints the values into Xml file Media:Colour_gradiant.zip‎

Day #9

Last days: To-Do-List.

Format of the temperature to color range definition XML

<?xml version="1.0"?>
		<range from="0, 1, 0.502" to="0.279, 0.489, 0.859"></range>
		<range from="0, 1, 0.502" to="0.279, 0.489, 0.859"></range>
		<range from="0, 1, 0.502" to="0.279, 0.489, 0.859"></range>
		<range from="0, 1, 0.502" to="0.279, 0.489, 0.859"></range>

So this are the ranges to use:

<?xml version="1.0">
<range from="0.99,0.99206346,0.9882353" to="0.8186667,0.99206346,0.9882353"></range>
<range from="0.76,0.99206346,0.9882353" to="0.49,0.99206346,0.9882353"></range>
<range from="0.46,0.99206346,0.9882353" to="0.21,0.99206346,0.9882353"></range>
<range from="0.17,0.99206346,0.9882353" to="0.05,0.99206346,0.9882353"></range>

The temperature values attached to them are:
range1: 0 and less
range2: 1-17
range3: 18-31
range4: 32 and more
But we can change that.


->hooking things up
tracking -> MIMODEK <-temperature

appaering/dissapiering of Mimos
growth of each active Mimo (pace/style of growth)
movement of active Mimos(they follow the people with some delay)
social behaviour (how the Mimos change when the get closer together-streching? pulsing?)

homeostasis (solve some problems which still are there)
scaling the size and fading (a bit)the colourof active Mimos to become ancestors

color-temperature relation (now we have more complex system, will expalin later)
shapes, gradiant of MImos

in the case of crush or when the installation is turned off MIMODEK needs to remember it's last state

other tasks

we need to fill this into the wiki-it is so they can run Mimodek after we are gone from here
especially for programmers part of the crew- leave a "user manual"sort of thing

for tuesday 23February 6pm

if there is time:
MIMODEK history records = sending the pictures online (microblogging?) when Mimodek isn't visualise on the screen but is running


Day #10

GOOD MORNING I´m sorry i´m not at Medialab..at the last full working day:-( The reason is that i got some stupid flu and even i spend all sunday in bed i´m still not well. I wouldn´t manage to stay there all day and i´m thinking it´s more important to be there at the afternoon-evening. So i will see you later. SORRY and THANKS FOR BEING SUCH A GREAT COLLABORATORS !!!! If there are any questions about anything please do not hesitate to call me (it´s spanish phone so you can call from Medialab landline):633361226 Marushka


Some issues regarding the final presentation on tuesday 23rd:

1. Applications deadline: tuesday at 12.00am.

Chris needs all applications at that time to be able to test them and put them together. Please be punctual!

For processing applications, please export the application for windows (exe) and be sure to use "present mode" when exporting so that it will launch fullscreen.

We are planning to automate the system so that a script launches and closes each application. Try to take this into account for the final application.

2. Presentations deadline: tuesday at 17.00.

We will have the presentations of all the projects here inside the space, and afterwards we will go up to the plaza and watch the applications.

For the presentations, please make a 10 min ppt or pdf and hand them to Dani before that time.

3. Project´s info deadline: monday at 12.00.

We´re preparing the screen introductions for each project. For that we would need you to fill in the following points of the wiki:

  1. 1 Descripción del proyecto / Project description

Think about a 5 lines description of the project, so that people can understand as much as possible without any other information (concept, interactivity, etc)

  1. 5 Ficha técnica y arranque / Technical details and starting up

This can be answered on tuesday, but it is important for the future.

  1. 6 Resultado tras el taller / Results after the workshop
  2. 7 Autor/es del proyecto / Author(s) of the proyect
  3. 8 Colaboradores / Collaborators

Thank you!

Preguntas iniciales / First day questionary

1. ¿Cuáles son vuestros objetivos a corto plazo (qué esperáis terminar en dos semanas)? / What is the short-term objective (what do you expect to finish in 2 weeks)?

The plan

To create a working demo of an interactive living organisim on the facade of the Medialab Prado and document the process online. The demo has two main parts:

1. Cells

Interactive part: that reacts to the people and animals passing the plaza creating visuals such as cells forming into the "footsteps" of moving people.

2. Living Background

Background part: Data taken from the web (humidity, weather info or equal) and transferred into black and white background visuals in the form of a living background organisim, which can react also to the cells.

2. ¿Cuáles son vuestros objetivos a largo plazo (qué posterior desarrollo pensáis para el proyecto)? /  What is the long term objective (what posterior development do you think of)?

3. ¿Con qué colectivos o grupos de personas trabaja el proyecto para abrir el proceso de producción? ¿Cómo? / Whith which collectives or groups of people does the project work with to open up the production process? How?'

4. ¿Cómo pensáis que el proyecto se adaptará al entorno donde se ubica la fachada digital y qué repercusines sociales tendrá? / How do you think the project will be adapted to the digital fachade's enviroment and which social repercussions will have?

5. ¿En qué otros proyectos o teorías os habéis inspirado? / What are the inspiring projects and theories; background, context, references?

Cities around the world seem to share the same pattern – their inhabitants highly value nature.

The prime location is always the one near the ocean, river or surrounded by greenery, while the concrete jungle is left for the less privileged ones. City dwellers seem to search natural habitats whenever they need to relax, unwind, comfort or re-centre themselves. Nature in the urban environment is cherished, protected and cultivated.

What is the essential difference between the natural world and made-made (urban) environments? What is “it” we are missing in the city and find in nature?

In nature, everything we lay our eyes on is either alive or it serves as a basis for life. Trees aren’t just logs of wood stuck in the ground – they are complex living systems which themselves are part of yet another complex living system, the forest.

One of the essential attributes of the living system is the element of change. Living systems are changing continuously, on their cellular level and as whole entities.

When looking at the social structures of the city they function as a living systems too (and show similar attributes to the living systems found in nature). But at a material level the cities are not alive and are not changing. Any change visible in the city is applied synthetically by humans and other living inhabitants. Change is not embedded in the very core of the matter of the city in the way that it is in nature.

The omnipresence of change, embedded in the matter of our surroundings, might be the base of the difference between the man-made and the natural environment. The essence of what we – city dwelling humans – are missing in our otherwise dearly loved urban landscape.

The medium is the digital facade and the medium of the computer program as a great opportunity to introduce these elements of change – and a level of organic vitality – into the urban landscape.

In addition to change, which it embeds, an executed computer program shows another interesting similarity to a living system – it is a continuous, ongoing process. As S.Snibbe puts it: “It is our consciousness that creates artificial categories from an interdependent continuum of existence. Within this framework, computation is understood as an interdependent chain of cause and effect, with no original or primary cause. No part of the continuum from programmer to program, processor to display, and display to viewer can be removed without breaking the computational chain.” (Snibbe Scott in Maeda, 2004 : 228)* In nature, there is also no distinction between entities and their environment which holds up to rigorous inspection. When we step into any natural habitat, we are immediately interacting with it. We can not stay detached observers, our mere presence is modifying the environment, and the environment modifies us in return.

MIMODEK is exploring these elements of interconnectivity, which aren’t always very obvious in the urban environment. It is a meeting point between inhabitants of the Plaza De Las Letras and the digital organism embodied in its computer program.

MIMODEK is an interactive-evolving and changing “living” system, which is based on the principles of the natural world yet “grows” from the very fabric of the city. It is a not growth simulation of a tree or other nature-mimicking imagery. (In my opinion, an urban gardening project would serve the city better than that!). MIMODEK reflects its own environment, as do all living systems in nature. They are as they are , because they formed (evolved) by their environment.

Practically, MIMODEK is an interactive evolving artwork programmed in Processing (Java), working alongside the principles of change found in nature.

The following text describes the framework of the project, rather than something “set in stone”. I specifically want to emphasise the importance of collaborator’s input during the realisation of the project. In particular I hope the collaborators will bring local cultural knowledge which will help sculpt my general proposal into a work which is both appropriate and effective in the specific location of Plaza De Las Letras.

  • Maeda John, 2004, Creative code, Thames&Hudson Ltd, London

6. ¿Cuales son vuestros requisitos técnicos?/ Which are your technical requirements?

Last Day Summary - description of running version of MIMODEK project

1. Q: What is the relation between people and data?

A: Mimodek is a living system formed/generated by agents(people,animals...) and data. Mimos (cells of the system) are created by agents(physically present on the plaza)and influenced by the data.

2. Q: What kind of properties does the model have?

A: The system is an aggregation of mimos, some active and some ancestors. More specifically it is network of particles connected by springs. It's growth is based on DLA algorythm.Process of homeostasis (decay) is also involved so the structure wouldn't "overgrow" the facade.

The growth and Decay of the presistent structure

1. Growing: DLA

2. Homeostasis: When the number of Mimos reaches given value (400 at the last test, it can be adjusted in the aplication)the oldest Mimo start shrinking until it dissapaers and the younger Mimos take its place.

3. Q: What kind of interaction?

1. We track the movement of the people on the plaza. Movement of the agents creates movement of the Mimos on the facade.

2. The active Mimos are interacting with the ancestor mimos structure by affecting its movement.

3. When the agent leaves the plaza, their Mimo becomes an ancestor mimo and join the existing structure. In the first instance when the installation is run, the first agent which is detected by the tracking system creates the "seed" of the future structure at the point when the agent left the Plaza

4. Temperature data affect the colour of Mimos. In detail: Temparature reading is obtained from a website which sends it's updates every 30min via RSS feed. There are 4colour/temperature related ranges. When the reading is taken, MIMODEK applicaton checks into which colour range it fall under. It compares the temperature with previously obtained values(if they exist) and calculate new min/max value. After it check how many degrees difference there is between the min and max value-this defines the number of steps in the range and adjust the colour to the Mimo.

4. Q: What kind of data do we use as an input?

A: At the moment we have only two kind of inputs:

  • Tracking, coordinates
  • Information about the city, data taken from the web:

Environmental data - temperature

Ficha técnica y arranque / Technical details and starting up

Instrucciones de instalación del proyecto en un equipo desde cero / How to install the project in a clean computer:

Como ejecutar el programa / How to execute the program : On the tracking computer-Desktop ->Link to MIMO Tracking->"Click to Lounch App Release.sh"-> RUN IN TERMINAL //this will start the tracking On facade(screening)computer: RUN MIMODEK SKETCH

Breve resumen de como utilizar el programa / Briefly, how to use the application?
Only check the following :
"Temperature reading:YES" if NO check if the computer is online
"Recieving TUIO :D"smiling face is moving, if no itś mean that there is some problem between the tracking app. and MIMODEK app. Try to start again;)
You can try to increase "Number Of Mimos" if you think that the structure can grow bigger.(higher number = bigger structure)
Pressing "s"key saves the configuration.
The other sliders better not to use.
The "reset-restart"button doesn´t work.

Página web / Web site: when ready, it will be here: http://www.medianeralab.es/openup/mimodek/

Open Source, Licencia, condiciones de uso / License, Terms of use

GNU General Public License (software), Creative Commons by SA

Archivos que conforman en el proyecto / Files included in the project:

- Sistema Operativo (versión) / OS (version):

- Software utilizado (versión) / Used Software (version):
- Visualización/ Visualization:
- Base datos y scripts/ Database and scripts:
- Otras tareas /For other tasks:
- Para la programación / For coding:
- Video tracking:

 Resultado tras el taller / Results after the workshop

Propuesta de programación del proyecto en la pantalla / Programming proposal for the project on screen.
Due to a current schedule of facade screening(one evening per project, rotating with other projects)MIMODEK is alive only during it's screening time. As for now,when the facade is turned off, MIMODEK application doesn "remember" itś last state and itś starting from a begining each evening.

Tiempo máximo de proyección / Maximum screening time.
No limits.

Tiempo mínimo de proyección / Minimal screening time.
Ideal scenario would be to have MIMODEK running every evening for at least a week, this will allow certain sense of continuity and connection between the visitors of the Plaza and the project to be developed.

Eventos/actividades / Events/activities.


First of all I want to tell lot of thanks to you all !! MIMODEK really wouldn't exist without your ideas, your hard work and all you had put into it. I had a great time working with you as a group and hope you had enjoyed it too!
I think we have achieved what our goal for the Open Up workshop was = to create a working prototype of MIMODEK.
The next goal is to develop MIMODEK into more completed and complex version.
For example: - using greater variety of input data and so to more Madrid city "organism" - more complex interactivity,as MIMODEK reacting to agent's proximity - more complex MIMODEK "organism" life and so on.
As for now I guess we all need a proper break and not to see any Mimos for a while, however if any Mimodek related idea occur in your mind plese write it down(post it to this wiki) as I believe (and not just believe but working on it actually)that continuation of the work will be possible!


Well done who escaped Madrid! Who stayed is still in the range of Medilab magnetism (not that you can ever fully escape it really) and is still spending every afternoon here....THANK YOU A LOT JONATHAN who is trying to fix some Mimodek troubles so we really leave a working _WORKING_ prototype here. We run some tests yestrday and going to do so today again. Hopefully all will be fine and we wouldn't have to come back tomorow (friday). Some picture of recent mimodek. Code coming soon


Autor/es del proyecto / Author(s) of the proyect

Marie Polakova

Colaboradores / Collaborators

Lali Barrière, Jonathan Cremieux, Bruno Vianna, Liisa Tervinen, Abinadi Meza, Maja Kalogera

Collaborator's websites

leader: Marie Polakova's website http://marura.wordpress.com

Lali Barrière's website http://www-ma4.upc.edu/~lali

Abinadi Meza's website http://www.abinadimeza.net/

Liisa Tervinen's website http://designroomfinland.wordpress.com

Maja Kalogera's website http://kalogera.net

Enlaces / Links