Modern art studio installs ‘rain room’ to let visitors experience realistic wet weather… in autumnal LONDON
A sensor is meant to detect where visitors are standing and keep them dry
Artists Random International call it an exercise in trust
If you are looking for somewhere dry to shelter from the wet autumn weather, don’t visit his art gallery.
The exhibition consists of a sheet of rain pelting down within the walls of a bare room.
Sensors around the ‘Rain Room’ are supposed to detect where visitors are standing and keep them dry.The audience is invited to ‘experiment with boundaries’ of the work at the Barbican in London, and ‘see if they can get wet’.
Art collective Random International instructs curious visitors to either watch the ‘spectacle’ or walk through it.
At least viewers will not have to deal with the obstacles of traffic and pedestrians that flood the streets outside the studio’s doors.
Instead, the room is black and completely bare except for lights highlighting the deluge.
The studio behind the 100m-sq installation describes it as a marvel of ‘technical virtuosity’ and ‘sculptural rigour’.
The raindrops pour from the ceiling on to the grated floor through injection moulded tiles using a system of valves, and pressure regulators. Custom software and 3D tracking cameras are used to stop the water from falling in spots where people are standing.
But the ‘monumental proportions of this carefully choreographed downpour and the sound of water’ may be a little wasted on those who live in this hemisphere.
Thankfully, the soggy experience is free.
Dancers will ‘respond’ to the work at the Barbican’s Curve exhibition space on four dates, yet to be set.
Visitors are told they can ‘control the rain’ depending on how they walk – which the artists – Germans Hannes Kock and Florian Ortkrass and Briton Stuart Wood – describe as ‘putting your trust in the work to the test.’
In the spotlight: How sodden observers will take to the interactive installation remains to be seen
Singin’ in the rain: The Barbican display is described on the gallery website as a marvel of ‘sculptural rigour
The trio met in 2005 while students at the Royal College of Art in London.
Mr Wood said the Rain Room was ‘a social experiment, designed to extract personality types’.
‘It’s a people-watching space,’ he added. ‘We watch people going in tentatively at first, or if you’re of the ilk of being really excitable and outgoing you might just rush in.
‘This piece is just every day heightened. It’s up to people to experiment with it and play with it, to push its boundaries and see if they can get wet.’
Those of a pessimistic disposition may wish to avoid.
The installation will be on display at the Barbican’s Curve from tomorrow until March 3, 2013.
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