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The Mind-Blowing ‘Rain Room’ Comes to Los Angeles

This wildly popular installation art creates an indoor storm—but visitors don’t get wet

smithsonian.com

What if you could stand in a rainstorm without getting wet? Visitors to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art will soon have a chance to try, Deborah Vankin reports for the Los Angeles Times. Rain Room, a wildly popular sound and light installation that simulates a storm indoors, will open at the museum on November 1.

Rain Room is a surreal, visually stunning experience: As visitors walk around inside, sensors track their locations and prevent water from falling on them, ensuring that each person stays dry. The installation, which uses 528 gallons of filtered, recirculated water, is the brain child of Random International, a London-based art collective. "Rain Room is a field of falling water that pauses wherever a human body is detected—offering visitors the experience of controlling the rain," the group says on its website.

The LACMA exhibit is far from Rain Room's first brush with art world fame. In 2013, the installation was a smash hit at New York's Museum of Modern Art, where it attracted massive, eight-hour lines. LACMA's website warns that visitors should expect long lines this time, too, and must adhere to special rules. High-heeled shoes are verboten, as are any dark, shiny or reflective articles of clothing that may affect the display.

Inside Rain Room, drought's a dirty word and water shortages but a distant memory. And maybe that's just what drought-stricken Los Angeles needs, even in an El Niño year: Sunny skies are forecast across the area in early November, so the only rain in the area will likely be inside the museum's shimmering installation.

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