Doing things in London really is my thing. Especially free things.
But heading to the Rain Room in Barbican is probably the best and most worthwhile free thing I’ve done in London this year. Due to serious perkiness, we went on the first day (which happened to be the day the Telegraph decided to tell the rest of the world to go). Dangerous choice, but well worth it.
We only waited for about 1.5 hrs. I say ‘only’, because I know that waiting times got worse from that evening onwards, and since then, people have been known to wait up to 5 hours to get a glimpse of the Rain Room.
Rain Room is a 100 square metre space of falling water, which visitors can walk through, without getting wet. There are sensors above, which respond to movement and sense you coming, subsequently dis-activating the streams of water directly above you. The whole ideas is that you can experience what it might feel like to control the rain, without forfeiting dryness. ..
As you walk into the Curve (where the exhibition is being held), the sound of falling water and intense feeling of moisture hits you like a belly flop. You step into the falling rain, and as you walk through, the rain parts for you to continue your journey. It’s surreal, to say the least.
If I had run, or stuck out my hand quickly, I would of course have got wet. But the point isn’t to cheat the system; it’s to walk through and feel the oddness of standing less than 30 cm’s away from someone, with a barrier of rain between you. It’s a feeling that only art can give you.
The lighting is amazing in there, hence the ridiculous number of pictures which have popped up on the web since. All I can say is GO! Go in your lunch-break, or in one of the late Thursday viewings on offer. Prepare yourself for a queue, but as they all say: good experiences come to those who wait.