The Rain Room, a critically-acclaimed art installation by London-based Random International, has closed their doors in Shanghai reporting over 200,000 visitors. The four-month exhibition sponsored by Volkswagen, at the Yuz Museum, aimed at making art and culture accessible to all. Running alongside Rain Room, were well-received workshops, educational programmes and talks, as well as a photography competition – Capturing the Most Beautiful Rain – for both amateurs and professionals alike.
Rain Room caused a stir in Shanghai’s art scene during the four months it was on display due to the magical nature of the installation that made it seem as though humans controlled the rain: the work is a field of perpetually falling water that stops wherever someone walks thanks to clever use of digital technology, ensuring viewers never get wet.
The work was described by Artlyst’s Paul Black as a thrillingly immersive experience, balancing aspects of control, as an effective signifier of our relationship with nature. In effecting the fall of rain we seem to possess a God-like control of ‘nature’ – albeit in simulation – but it is the installation that actually controls our movements. The work offers the viewer a physical hyperreality – perhaps not quite an inability of consciousness to distinguish reality from a simulation of reality via the technologically of an advanced postmodern society – but with the addition of the installation’s physical poetry, the viewer is lost in a child-like wonder.
Photo: Paul Black © Artlyst 2016