A Sound Installation Makes it Rain Without Water

No soggy clothes, just the soothing pitter-patter of rain hitting the top of your umbrella.

Artist, designer, and techno musician Kouichi Okamoto is exhibiting his latest work of sound art, an installation called Re-Rain, at the Shizuoka Prefectural Museum of Art in Shizuoka City, Japan.

Re-rain proposes a way for the immaterial forces of sound, gravity, and magnetic force to find a physical form. In the installation, each of 15 umbrellas shelter a speaker, from which plays pre-recorded sound samples of rain hitting the top of an umbrella. The sound hits the umbrellas from below, so as the sound waves reflect, the noise is altered.

The piece literally inverts the way the sound hits the object—taking the noise of a physical raindrop hitting an umbrella, and turning it into a sound that interacts with the umbrella only through sound waves. As the speakers play the samples, the umbrellas not only alter the sound, but they themselves vibrate from the force of the speakers attached to them, further shaping sound of the original sample.

Okamoto founded Kyouei Design in 2006, and the studio is known for their inventive reinterpretations of music-playing devices. The artist himself has also been making techno since the 90s, so his interest in sound reaches far further than the sound of the rain above his head.

To learn more about Kyouei Design, click here


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