RainDance is Happy and Wet by Chris Hofer Borrer

Stanford Professor and local electronic media artist Paul DeMarinis has devised a sensory wonderland with RainDance, his interactive sound installation that can be viewed from 11:00am–7:00pm through June 18 at Santana Row. Created for Expo 1998 in Lisbon, RainDance has made appearances in Shanghai, Berlin, and Geneva before coming to San Jose for 01SJ.

DeMarinis’s marvelous work contains something for everyone. For weather enthusiasts and outdoor-lovers, there is simulated rain, complete with umbrellas. And for music-lovers, the rain coming down on the umbrellas is turned into music that is a delight to the ear!

RainDance participants hear surprising musical sounds under their umbrellas in 01SJ’s satellite event at Santana Row

Created with help from sculptor Chris Bell, RainDance at first looks just like a series of four outdoor showers. But that is where the similarity ends. The installation uses jets of water along with audio signals to carry sound vibrations that are inaudible until an umbrella intercepts the rain. The sound is then decoded and turned into music. As the viewer moves, the music changes. Participants can move between different rain showers to create different music, thereby turning themselves into composers!

One thing to be aware of: You will get wet when you participate in RainDance, so don’t wear your best outfit when you come to see this happy work of art!

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