Smiley installation shows the mood of a city

Posted to Data Art  |  Tags: , ,  |  Nathan Yau

Project Stimmungsgasometer (say what?) is a giant smiley face that changes based on the mood of Berlin citizens. When they are collectively “happy” the light is a smile, and when they are not, it is a sad face. Input comes from facial recognition software that takes in video from a strategically placed camera. The software estimates whether passers by are happy or not, and then installation changes accordingly.

See it in action in the video below.

Has anyone from Berlin seen this going? I wonder how accurate the software is and what the cutoff is for a happy city.

[Stimmungsgasometer via infosthetics]


  • Kevin McConway December 2, 2011 at 1:16 am

    Well, I’m in Berlin at present, but it’s not here any more. It was here (according to the website you link to) in 2008 for only quite a short time (18 Oct to 3 Nov). I’ve asked a few colleagues who were here at the time (I wasn’t) and nobody so far reports seeing it. The video you link to shows it appearing at Lindau in 2010 – Lindau is on Lake Constance (Bodensee), which is at the other end of Germany from Berlin (over 700 km away). As far as I can make it, it was there also only for a few weeks in August 2010.

  • Hi,
    Kevin is right. Lindau is a town in the very South of Germany on Lake of Constance. It was an art installation using a software made by the German Fraunhofer Institute. Additional information can be found here or here. “Gasometer” is a huge gas holder and “Stimmung” is the German word for “mood”. They used the combination of the two words probably because the first  installation was set up on a gas holder.

    CU – Stephan

    • Is it possible it’s called a “gas holder” because it is a neon sign, i.e., creating light via gas?

  • Kevin Carlson December 2, 2011 at 8:59 am

    Too bad it’s gone. I was going to ask if they were using exponential smoothing! :)

  • I do wonder if there was any observation effect i.e. knowing that your face was being represented elsewhere, smiled. I do wonder what the data looked like.

  • I have seen it a couple of times here in Berlin and at least on rainy days the mood shown was “sad”.
    You should have a look at The Fulgurator, another great project from the same guys.


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