Sammy Nickalls
October 29, 2015 11:23 am

Have you always loved the sound and beauty of rain, but hated the whole “getting wet” part? You may want to check out an absolutely stunning art installation in Los Angeles that is fascinating the entire Internet.

Designed by Hannes Koch and Florian Ortkrass — co-founders of the London-based art collective Random International — The Rain Room is an “immersive, large-scale light and sound installation” that will be a part of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), reports Los Angeles Times. And those who pay a visit to the gallery of the Broad Contemporary Art Museum can actually control the “weather” with each footstep. . . and everyone stays dry.

So how does this room of wonders work? Only seven people are allowed in the installation for 15 minutes each. As you walk through the water, sensors can detect your presence, and the “rain” above you pauses, so there is always a six-foot radius around every visitor where no rain is falling. But it’s still as if you’re in an intense storm, because around you, the rain keeps on pouring. The room is equipped with state-of-the-art technology, according to Los Angeles Times:

And when you take the lighting into account, the whole thing becomes ethereal — there’s one spotlight in the corner of the room that casts a gorgeous light, making it seem as though there are simply silhouettes against a torrent of rain. The room has its glitches — the sensors don’t work if you’re wearing stripes, for example — but by Sunday, all the kinks should be worked out.

“It’s surreal — rain never sounds like this,” Koch told Los Angeles Times. “Usually it has roofs or cars to bump on and break it up; here, it’s very stylized, a very monotonous, formalized sound. But it’s a frequency that your brain is permanently looking for. It has a very soothing quality.” The Rain Room first made its debut in London in 2012, then made its way to New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 2013, where it quickly grew in popularity, and for great reason. “The idea originated in a three-second spark that came up during a discussion. . . It seemed that we somehow shared a curiosity to see how it would feel to be immersed in a rainstorm that wouldn’t physically affect you,” Ortkrass and Koch told LACMA. “So, we just knew, we had to do this.”

They also made sure to make the installation environmentally friendly. The exhibit uses 528 gallons of water, which will be recycled throughout the exhibition (and will be tested weekly to make sure it’s clean). “It’s the water footprint of a hamburger,” Koch told Los Angeles Times. “You need as much water in Rain Room as you need to make a Big Mac, from feeding the cows, industrial production, growing the lettuce and tomato, the whole process. It’s basically a couple of bathtubs of water, recycled.”

This was incredibly important, considering that it’s installed in a city that’s suffering from a major drought. “We knew drought was a massive issue here,” Koch told Los Angeles Times. “The installation is really efficient; think of the impact you can have with this much water compared to the wastefulness in other contexts, like meat production.”

But really, the drought has given the Rain Room an entirely new context and meaning — perhaps making it even more poignant. “. . . it does take on a distinctly different meaning in a state of drought,” Koch told LACMA. “Rain Room gives us the illusion of control, and seems to tell us that if only we threw enough stuff at something, everything will be fine. . . But through its imperfections and abstraction, it also clearly shows us the differences between the simulation and the real deal.”

(Image via Instagram.)

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