Weathering the storm in MoMA’s Rain Room

If you have ever wanted to control the rain, there is a very special room in New York City that allows you to do just that.

The Rain Room is a new exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in which visitors walk through a field of falling water – only the water pauses when a human body is detected, allowing you to walk through without getting wet.

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Rain Room. Random International. 2012. Photo courtesy of the artist.

The exhibition by London-based contemporary art studio Random International is part of “EXPO 1: New York,” a large festival that explores ecological challenges of the 21st century, including climate change. First debuting in October at the Barbican Centre in London, the work encourages visitors to explore concepts of science, technology, and human ingenuity, and the roles they play in stabilizing our environment. A system of tracking cameras detects each person as they move through the 300-square foot space, halting the rain from above.

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Rain Room. Random International. 2012. Photo courtesy of the artist.

When I visited the Rain Room on Saturday, a line zigzagged through a series of switchbacks outside the entrance, located in the once-empty lot adjacent to MoMA on West 54th street.  As a local, attempting to get into the exhibition on a tourist-filled Saturday in New York was not my smartest idea. Because only 10 people are admitted to the room at a time, an attendant at the end of the line told me it was a 4-hour wait to get inside.

Instead, I opted to go in the viewing-only line, which allowed me to walk along the side of the room and watch other guests experience the rain. The large, black room was lit only on one side, creating a long shadow effect for everyone that walked through.

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Photo by Cody Calamaio

 

Fear of getting drenched didn’t seem to be on people’s minds as they walked into what looked like a downpour. A flurry of iPhones and cameras walked among the water, and guests were encouraged to take photos and post them to social media with the hashtag #RainRoom so they appear in a live stream on the MoMA PS1 website.

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Photo by Cody Calamaio

 

The Rain Room is open through July 28. For more information visit moma.org.

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