rAndom International, a London based art studio, is definitely enjoying some popularity these days as their hyped installation at the Barbican Curve Gallery gathered more than 77 thousand visitors while it was exhibited. Basically, between October 2012 and March 2013, if you wanted to see their most recent work called Rain Room, it was highly recommended that you bring some food, drinks, friends, even a book because you had to wait in line for approximately two to twelve hours, depending on your luck and timing.
rAndom International was formed in 2005 by three self-proclaimed happy geeks: Hannes Koch, Florian Ortkrass and Stuart Wood. They all seemed to share the same interest in experimenting into human behavior and interaction while employing the latest technologies. Whether you call them artists or designers, most of their projects consist of experiential and cross-disciplinary approaches that prompt visitors to actively participate in them. Their pieces could easily be considered social experiments as much as works of art, investigating how humans interact with technology and the emotional responses generated when a space or an object responds to them.
So what is all the hype about?! With Rain Room is mainly the curiosity of how it is to walk through the rain and still remain untouched by a single drop. It’s also about a unique experience, a sense of playful empowerment given to the visitors as they entered a room of perpetual rainfall, being able to walk through it without getting wet as if they could control the weather. The installation, “a carefully choreographed downpour” as the artists themselves call it, encourages visitors to become performers. When people enter the space, 3D cameras placed around the room track visitors’ movements, allowing the water to part as they pass through. Though it can be intimidating, without the public engagement, the work is meaningless.
Rain Room is not the first piece of these guys to rely on audience participation. In 2008 they made another installation called Audience which consisted of 64 mirrors placed low on the ground that responded to passers-by and turned to follow them as they moved. Therefore, the observer became observed, willing or not.
A similar project is Self portrait, which appeared to be a blank screen, however, when people came closer, an ephemeral representation of themselves appeared, capturing their portrait and momentary reaction, then quickly fading away.
Given the fact that the studio is only 8 years old, they have an impressive portfolio. So, for more information about their work, check out their website> http://random-international.com/
By Geo Fita
Geo Fita is an art & internet enthusiast living in Bucharest.