London’s Barbican Center launched a new exhibition this week that is encapsulating both the minds and bodies of its participants. Exhibitionists Florian Ortkross and Brian Stuart Wood have blended technology and the human experience to create a room where it never stops raining, unless you are in it. Through the use of 3D sensory cameras, a computer system is able to track the participant’s movements, in turn halting the downpour of rain directly above them. By mimicking the productive aspects of an umbrella while freeing the patron to explore the environment, a surreal freedom is achieved like never before.
Orktross says the experience is like none before it in that, even the rain does not sound as you remember it. The sound of falling rain around you is much more relaxing than the sound of heavy drops on plastic. These barriers from precipitant have also become a barrier from natural beauty and for those who do not have the time or desire to sit in the rain and reflect on life, they are now given the opportunity within the four walls of a small room in London’s Barbican Center. Not only are these lucky few offered this experience, but even those used to times of solemn reflection in the rain, they are often welcomed with a new experience which provides a far less invasive version of their former endeavor. The rain walls are continually falling around the individual so closely that it gives the effect of standing on the edge of porch watching the rain fall inches from your face, but never being close enough to get wet.
Without even understanding the technology at work it is easy to see why this experiment is mind boggling. We pray for days when the rain would stop just long enough for us to reach our cars or make it to the grocery store, but to be able to walk through the rain, a Moses of modern means, could very well have the ability to re-empower the human spirit.