What The Rain Has Seen (2009)
Rainwater, video camera, video projection, custom software. 135" x 240".
An outdoor public art installation – a video projection on a puddle of rainwater intervening into the urban landscape. The simple fascination of a puddle’s reflection is magically invoked at night by projecting the images recorded on its surface during the daytime – the bridge, shifting clouds, raindrops, flashes of passersby, or the face of someone deliberately interacting with it. The puddle becomes a portal to a parallel space where reflections of the past and those of viewers in the present combine and strangely shift.
What The Rain Has Seen is a deceptively simple intervention into the urban fabric of DUMBO. Essentially it is a projection playing on something seen all the time yet rarely paid attention to – the puddles of rainwater that form in many of the old pockmarked streets of this neighborhood. The simple fascination of a puddle’s reflection is magically invoked at night by projecting the images recorded on its surface during the daytime – buildings, shifting clouds, raindrops, flashes of passersby, or the face of someone deliberately interacting with it. The projection will seem to be a kind of mysterious portal at night, not just from its glowing images shifting time backwards from night to day, but because as viewers walk around the piece their spatial perspective will shift illogically due to the fixed location of the projection source.
The puddles of water left over in the potholes and valleys of the streets of DUMBO highlight what is still ragged and unkempt here despite the gentrification and high priced real estate. Glimpses of DUMBO’s industrial past and the layers of its history can be seen in the cobblestones, worn curbs, and rail track remnants peeking unevenly through the asphalt. And a puddle is of course always more than just a hole filled with water. The literature of myth is filled with instances of the potential otherworldliness and seductive lure of the water’s surface. It can offer a sudden unexpected reflection of our own faces, or hint at huge unknown shapes moving beneath.
The reflection of water in the everyday streets can offer the city dweller a dramatic glimpse of sky, an unusual perspective on surrounding architecture, or even a disorienting portal to a parallel space. This piece will draw attention to these perceptual opportunities during the day, and at night, the timeshifted reflections will combine with the actual reflections of the street and the viewers themselves. Taking advantage of the rough edges of DUMBO’s infrastructure, this piece will present an enchanting opportunity for interaction and contemplation in the unexpected context of the street.
Exhibited at the 2009 DUMBO Art Festival.