Rain Room, an instillation recently unveiled by the art collective Random International, simulates a rainstorm without getting anyone wet. Spectators are invited to stand amidst the 100 square meter downpour while a complex system of sensors keeps them dry. Speaking to the Guardian, the artists explained:
"We started three years ago, testing temporary ‘printing’ with water, spraying droplets from above, like a long-distance ink-jet printer," says Florian Ortkrass, who founded Random International with fellow Royal College of Art design graduates Stuart Wood and Hannes Koch in 2005.
"But we became much more interested in how people would react to the piece," he explains. "It’s the same with all of our work: it doesn’t make sense without anyone there."
Their first piece involving participation was Audience (2008), a disconcerting field of mirrors that eerily turned to follow visitors as they walked between them, making the viewer both the active agent and subject of the piece. Two years later, their Swarm installation translated the collective behaviour of a flock of birds into moving light. The sound of visitors stimulated the “collective consciousness” of a network of suspended LEDs, causing dynamic waves of light to ripple through the space.