When it took up residence at New York's Museum of Modern Art in 2013, Random International's immersive, ethereal installation Rain Room generated hours-long lines throughout its season.
In a darkened, 100-square-metre space, visitors step into a field of continuous rainfall – millions of water droplets that react to the audience's presence. The rain stops whenever movement is detected: you're fully immersed in a shower at the same time as you're shielded from it.
More than 500,000 people have seen Rain Room in London (at The Barbican in 2012), Shanghai (at the YUZ Foundation in 2015), Los Angeles (at LACMA in 2017) and at MoMA in New York.
Now the artwork is coming to Melbourne courtesy of hotelier and arts patron Louis Li. The owner of Mornington Peninsula designer hotel Jackalope (and its city sibling, to open in 2022) has bought the installation for his Jackalope Art Collection, bringing one of the world's most famous contemporary works to live in Australia.
Presented in association with the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), Rain Room will premiere in Melbourne in August. Tickets will be available to the general public from next Thursday July 4. But a pre-sale code is available for Broadsheet readers – you can book right now. (Simply use the code "Broadsheet" when booking tickets here.)
“It’s an artwork that you inhabit, and as such, it can elicit any number of different socio-behavioural dynamics. Each iteration of the work has been altered in some intangible way by the space and context in which it has been shown, whether through the scent of the water, the fabric of the architecture, or the behaviour of the public," says Hannes Koch and Florian Ortkrass of Random International in a statement provided to Broadsheet.
Rain Room will eventually be in Li's ambitious Flinders Lane hotel, but for its 2019 season it will reside in a purpose-built pavilion (designed by acclaimed architecture practice March Studio) on a rooftop in St Kilda.
“Art is a significant part of Jackalope’s undertaking to provide transformative and immersive experiences,” Louis Li says in a statement. “Rain Room is our most ambitious curation to date; the work represents the spirit of our hotels – an interplay between imagination, mystery and science.”
"From rainy London to drought-ridden LA, to the heat of Sharjah, the surrounding climate opens up different perceptions of Rain Room and room for discourse," says Koch and Ortkrass. "We’re excited to see how the work resonates on the other side of the world, in the Southern Hemisphere, and in the city of Melbourne.”
Rain Room will be in the Jackalope Pavilion on the corner of Acland and Jackson streets in St Kilda. A pre-sale code is available for Broadsheet readers – you can book right now. (Simply use the code "Broadsheet" when booking tickets here.) Tickets will be on sale from Thursday July 4 for the general public via jackalopehotels.com. All tickets are sold in 20-minute time blocks and can only be purchased online.
Rain Room will be open seven days a week, Sunday to Wednesday from 10am to 6pm and Thursday to Saturday from 10am to 9pm. The installation will be closed Christmas Day and New Year's Day.
Child (three to 17 years, inclusive) $18.90
Family (two adults, two children) $88.70
Children under two years of age receive free admission when accompanied by an adult with a paying ticket