While these pictures may just look like a feature on the Filey Summer season, this is Random International‘s Barbican installation; “Rain Room”. What might seem to be lots of people wandering about in the rain actually has a twist; they all manage to remain bone dry. To employ a dated and unfunny slice of pop culture, “Now for the science bit…”
The best way that I can describe the feature is that it’s like an optimist’s version of the individual cartoon rain cloud that follows grumpy characters around. By that, I mean that while the rest of the room is drowning under a torrent of water, a zone around each person remains dry. As you walk in any direction, sensors detect where you’re moving and turn off the rain in that position.
Even with the creators demonstrating the ability of the system, it still took a little nerve to walk into the downpour carrying a couple of D4 bodies with lenses and a microphone. One thing that should be noted if you go along, don’t try walking too fast. My initial venture left me a little damp and it has to be said that the system’s not entirely bulletproof but 99% of the time you get the desired effect.
Recalling my basic photography lessons of my teenage years, shooting this was like those first experiments with photographing waterfalls and rivers in the Peak District for that Flickr-tastic creamy-water effect. After initial experiments with using faster shutter speeds to catch the blizzard effect illustrated in the first picture, the general consensus while sitting down to edit with the other photographers that shot the event was that slower speeds were the key.
As I shot this a few weeks ago, I thought the time had passed to feature it but I only just noticed that the installation is in place until Spring next year. Running from October 4, 2012 to March 3, 2013, “Rain Room” is free to experience and can be found in “The Curve” area of the Barbican centre. Go see it, liquid-lover!