Kinetic Art in an Urban Landscape–just made for breathing lighter!

Earlier this year Jay and I visited a special LACMA exhibit, “Rain Room.

The experience brought me close to tears. The blend of science, visual art and technology, in what Deborah Vankin of the Los Angeles Times called a “meteorological sleight of hand,” made it possible to walk throughout the gallery in a downpour, yet never get wet.

It is breathtaking, and although I admit being prone to exaggerated bursts of enthusiasm, in this case I don’t believe I am overstating the experience! Although I long for a drought-busting natural rain event, this art installation has played in rain-drenched city centers to equally approving and enthusiastic crowds.

We entered in groups of no more than 20 people at a time, then moving across the wet floor, sensors detected our movement providing a six-foot radius of dry clearing around us. At the same time, rain poured in a dimly lit room resulting in a sense of private interplay with the rain.

Designers Hannes Koch and Florian Ortkrass, cofounders of the London-based art collective Random International provide a brief video explaining their art experience objectives with some explanation of the design and technology specifics from London’s Barbican Centre and New York’s Museum of Modern Art. If you’re interested in the “how did they do this” background in an impressive art installation, it’s worth waiting through the 30 second advertisement.

LACMA has extended Rain Room from its original limited engagement dates. Advanced tickets are required and in great demand, but I highly recommend a visit. And for those who may be unaware, take advantage of the Los Angeles location and visit the La Brea Tar Pits right next door.

I thought back to the Rain Room experience when I read in the paper about a current art display in Pershing Square downtown Los Angeles. It would only be here for a few days and we had to decide quickly that it was something we would like to see. And I’m glad we did.

The location of Liquid Shard, a large-scale sculpture made out of not much more than mylar, adds to the quality of the experience because it can be enjoyed from the  ground perspective looking up into the sky and also from the high-rise office windows looking down.

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Kinetic art doesn’t translate as beautifully in a photo. It’s the movement and resulting sound that makes this relaxing and hypnotic.

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Created by local artist Patrick Shearn of Poetic Kinetics, the piece rises from 15 feet off the ground to 115 feet in the air, and provides a place for people to slow down and “breathe lighter” in a very busy and often chaotic urban environment.

I’ve walked through Pershing Square dozens of times. We take the Metro Red Line (light rail) to the Pershing Square station when we are visiting the downtown Central Library. But that’s what we do–we “walk through” the park and pay little attention.

People of all ages were enjoying the reprieve from the heat and simply taking in the hypnotic motion. It was tremendously relaxing!

One gentleman was intent on capturing the experience by air with his drone photography. I felt very limited with still photography, but I encourage you to take a moment to experience Liquid Shard in motion.

I hope all my friends have a restful, breathing lighter weekend. If getting back to nature isn’t possible, then remember that even urban settings can provide meditative experiences. You simply have to let your imagine run free a bit!