In London it rains, it rains a lot, and this is no surprise to anyone who lives in or has visited the city. Despite the abundance of precipitation available outdoors, artist collective rAndom International are creating the opportunity to enjoy the rain indoors with Rain Room.
Yes, this does seem to be a bit of a paradox – raining indoors? Enjoying rain indoors? The Barbican Centre’s newest installation in The Curve looks to resolve this paradox and bring a new appreciation for the elements. In a specially commissioned installation piece, the artists of rAndom International are creating an immersive environment that surrounds the viewers with rain without actually getting wet. The intricate planning and execution of the project will be an engineering feat, but the anticipated result is set to be an exhilarating experience.
rAndom International are a group of young artists who seek to push the boundaries between art object and art viewer. According to the studio’s website, the practice was founded in 2005 with the intent to use “raw fragments of artifical intelligence to encourage relationships between the converging worlds of animate and inanimate.” Rain Room falls quite well within this vision using sophisticated sensing technology to start and stop the rainfall around each visitor. One of the most intriguing elements of the installation promises to be the inherent contradiction in artificially regulated nature in an interior space. The Barbican Centre’s Curve Gallery will become a tree-less rainforest, a vacant London street, an alternate reality where things defy expectation.
For the artists, however, the finished work is not the installation itself but rather how visitors interact with the piece. rAndom International’s works are often more a study of behavior than isolated art objects, moving beyond traditional artistic production and incorporating elements of design, engineering, and even a bit of sociology. Rain Room opens 4 October in The Curve and is free to the public – it is certainly not an experience to be missed.
Words: Emily Sack © ArtLyst 2012