Extraordinary art installation by Studio Random International closes this week at the Barbican Museum in London. This spatial experience has been the talk of the town.
Famous for their characteristic approach to art, using experiments and a close collaboration with science, Studio Random International creates art installations that come to life in interaction with the audience.
Based on the primordial tendency of men to control nature, situated in the London context where rain doesn’t create positive reactions – the installation managed to change the point of view of the visitors regarding rain, from trivial – a weather occurrence to a complex phenomena followed by artistic, psychological and social analysis.
This is the largest and most ambitious art installation Random International has done so far. Rain Room takes up a 100m2 field where a simulation of a rainstorm is performed, through which the visitors can walk and feel the experience of being able to control the rain.
The space that houses the installation is in shape of a curved tunnel, so the visitors at the very entrance here the sound of the rain and feel the humidity in the air, before they walk into a downpour that reacts to their presence and movement.
The first impression goes beyond all expectations and, like any superior work of art, immediately captures the visitor completely. The perfect rain with a strong background lighting shows and makes visible each and every drop of water while the people’s silhouettes and the boundaries of the space remain in the dark. The contrast between the light water drops and the dark space makes the whole experience more intense and spectacular.
After the visitor steps on the platform, an invisible magnetic field is formed around him and in this area the rain stops. Each silhouettes creates a perfect void around which the rain continues its downpour.
It took two years to develop a system with technical capabilities to simulate a real rainstorm in an interior space. The authors wanted the rain to seem absolutely authentic, so research was done about what a rain drop looks like, how it acts, at what speed does it fall and in which way can you create these exact drops inside an interior space only 4m high.
Once the rain is created, a system of 3D cameras and sensors was developed to capture the shape of bodies and three dimensional objects from the moment that walk into the installation, and follow their movement, stopping the water jets above the visitor and allowing him to remain dry while walking through very heavy rain.
The installation authors consider most interesting to watch people’s behavior inside the art installation field, that is the way in which they approach and enter the artificial rainstorm and move through it. In this way the installation investigates the behavior of the exhibition visitors – which are at the same time observers and objects of observation, pushing them out of their comfort zone and suggesting them to try something opposite to their instinctive reactions and intuition.
Each person experiences Rain room in their own way and leaves it with different impressions. After the initial shock, and depending of each visitor’s character, the sentiments of ecstasy, nostalgia, admiration, fear and freedom are mixed. However, the common impression of all visitors remains – that it was an astonishing unreal experience, beyond all expectations.