I woke up this morning with something nagging in the back of my mind- there was something I’d been meaning to do for ages but hadn’t got round to.
Oh god! – I panicked.
The rain room- how long was it on for? – pretty sure it closes in March- aaah!
Random International Rain Room at the Barbican invites viewers to experience what it would be like to control the rain. Viewers enter a room filled with a downpour of rain, however, do not get wet, for, wherever they move, the rain stops.
I jumped on the computer, and, sure enough, it closes in March. I had two days. It was 8 am. ‘Be prepared to queue for four hours’ the website warned. That was it. I was dressed, out of the house and crammed onto a commuter tube by twenty past. Ugh.
I made it to the Barbican centre by 9.00, armed with an almond croissant and plenty of reading, ready to face the queue. Which was, by the way, ridiculous. There were already at least 60 people there when I arrived, and it didn’t even open until 11!
Three and a half hours later, I was at the front of the queue.
Then, I was allowed to descend the stairs into the exhibition space- a very dark, gradually curving corridor that seemed to go on forever. I must admit- it was scary. The sound of pouring rain could be heard, very faintly at first, but increasing more and more as I approached.
The initial sight of the rain was perhaps the best part of the exhibition. The room was completely black apart from one very strong spot light at the far end, meaning that all that was visible was the rain and the silhouettes of people experimenting in the installation. It was very beautiful.
Entering the rain was slightly unnerving- I almost didn’t trust it. But, as if by magic, the rain above my head stopped. It really was quite amazing.