Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Observations on Art 6.18, the Rain Room

© kane in the rain by Katie
The Rain Room is a thousand square foot installation that allows a person to walk through a simulated rain storm without getting wet. It was created by rAndom International which is a studio known for its experimental interactive projects.

As a person moves through the Rain Room multiple 3D cameras and ceiling mounted sensors track their location and turn on or off jets of water as they do so creating the impression of repelling rain. The room uses over 200 gallons of water a minute but it is quickly filtered and reused to be environmentally friendly. The Rain Room is part of  "EXPO 1: New York," a festival of new ideas in art and ecology that includes an exhibition at MoMA PS1, whose director Klaus Biesenbach curated the project, and other activities located under a geodesic dome in Rockaway Beach, Queens.

Rain Room was first shown last year in the Curve Gallery of London's Barbicon, it closed in March 2013. In May it opened in a lot next to New York's Museum of Modern Art and will be there until July 28th. Current wait times for non-members are running 4-6 hours and 2 hours for members. If you want to go, and you should, here are a few hints. Go as early as possible, MoMA opens at 10:30 but the lines start forming as early as 8. Sunday and Tuesday are the least busiest days, Friday is the worst. This may say stupid but if you have a choice go on a sunny day because people don't seem to want to stand in simulated rain on a nice day.

I have been to the Rain Room a few and while Ash and others describe it as surreal what I remember more than anything else is the sound. This video from the Barbicon gives you a good idea why.

Rain Room at the Barbican, 2012 from rAndom International on Vimeo.

rAndom International was founded by Stuart Wood, Flo Ortkrass and Hannes Koch in 2002. The studio was set up to extend the perspective of contemporary artistic practice. Working from the fringes of art, design, science and architecture, rAndom develop projects and installations that re-interpret the 'cold' nature of digital-based work and emphasize the interaction between the animate (audience) and the inanimate (object), bringing the two into a powerful relationship of performance. The studio's work has won many awards in the fields art, architecture and design. rAndom are represented by Carpenters Workshop Gallery in London.