'Rain Room' arrives in Shanghai

Co-creator Hannes Koch of the interactive installation on what it's about

rAndom international is a creative agency in London whose innovative art traverses the public and commercial spheres. Their piece ‘Rain Room’ spurts water from spouts in the ceiling and uses sensors to respond to the presence of people, shutting off the spouts immediately above to ensure you stay dry wherever you go. Having made quite a splash in London and New York, the work is now coming to Shanghai’s Yuz Museum, backed by Volkswagen Group China as part of a cultural engagement programme. Time Out speaks to co-creator Hannes Koch to find out what it’s all about

On surprising reactions
'When we tested the very first "Rain Room" prototype at our studio, we were all strangely hesitant to enter. Even though we understood the principle and inner workings of the artwork, we all developed some kind of temporary hydrophobia and we wondered if that same hesitancy would extend to the public. It didn’t: people walked right into the rain, intuitively understanding that it would respond to them. What did surprise us was that people seem to be willing to queue for the art. We don’t take that for granted.'

On taking the work to new places
'In a sense, "Rain Room" becomes a new piece each time it is exhibited. We always alter the layout to suit

the space, considering everything that comes with that space - not just from a technical perspective but also taking into account the atmosphere.’

On what people get from the work

'A sense of calm, clarity and a heightened perception of their physical presence in that environment. The work offers a very analogue and physical experience, which involves water, smell and a lot of light. The rawness and the overwhelming mid-frequency white noise that the water creates helps people to unwind and focus.’

On the value of experiences in art
'Through the experience you develop meaning. The work helps you to take a moment outside of the everyday and there is the capacity for further thought, to amplify wider questions: how is nature mediated through technology? How do we perceive relations with one another when we also cohabitate with machines? How do we relate to the machines themselves?’

On queues
Yuz Museum is introducing timedticketing and an extended viewing area, so this should help to alleviate any queues. Of course, the more people see the work, the happier we are. It’s the general public we made this work for, after all.’

Rain Room is at Yuz Museum from Tuesday 1-December 31. See full event details.