A riddle for the afternoon: what rains buts keeps you dry? It’s not a puzzle, but the reality of Random International’s incredible artwork Rain Room that makes its Southern Hemisphere debut thanks to Jackalope Art Collection.
I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek of this much-hyped artwork, standing in 100 square metres of intense rainfall, locked inside a black box…and remaining dry! If only Melbourne weather had the same brilliant engineering to stop the winter weather from getting our hair wet.
Rain Room by Random International took the world by storm (pun intended) when it premiered at The Barbican (London) in 2012, and has since toured to New York, Shanghai, and Los Angeles. The incredible work is a feat of beauty and engineering, where a 100 square metre field of continuous rainfall responds to your movement – step into the rain, and the water droplets stop. This creates the insane experience of standing shrouded by thundering rain, but remaining protected from it.
Rain Room’s Australian outing is brought to Melbourne by Jackalope Art Collection, and housed in a purpose built pavilion resembling a sort of architectural cloud, by March Studio. The Jackalope Pavilion is an extension of the award-winning hotel’s established commitment to art and creative experimentation – Jackalope founder Louis Li explains ‘Rain Room is our most ambitious curation to date; the work represents the spirit of our hotels – an interplay between imagination, mystery and science.’
The stunning and atmospheric work both ‘deprives and intensifies the senses’ and was brought to Melbourne with the assistance of ACMI. Katrina Sedwick, CEO of ACMI describes ‘Rain Room is sculptural, theatrical, immersive and cinematic – and one of the most impactful works of art in recent years.’
Every iteration of Rain Room is gently shaped by its context – from grey London, to drought-ridden LA – and Melbourne provides the first Southern Hemisphere outpost for this deeply immersive work. In a time of climate breakdown, and following a 2019 summer of Queensland floods and Tasmania fires, it is incredible to stand in a space where the intense power of rain (albeit man-made) is so profoundly amplified.
Corner of Ackland and Jackson Street
16 August – 27 October
Rain Room is open seven days a week
Sunday to Wednesday from 10am-6pm
Thursday to Saturday from 10am – 9pm.