Paul DeMarinis, Rebecca Cummins: Light Rain

  • ©, Paul DeMarinis and Rebecca Cummins, Light Rain
  • ©, Paul DeMarinis and Rebecca Cummins, Light Rain


    Light Rain

Artist(s) and People Involved:


Art Event Overview:

    Light Rain is a fusion of two works – Rebecca Cummins’ The Rainbow Machine 119981 and Paul DeMarinis’ RainDance (1998) – that explore the acoustic and optical phenomenal properties of water droplets. Among the many 19th century attempts to make sound visible, the physicist Savart’s discoveries of the effect of sound on water streams led to avenues of research that are still actively explored. A stream of water falling from a faucet, though it looks continuous, is actually a series of distinct droplets falling at intervals. Sound vibrations can influence the structure of the stream, producing distinct visual patterns. What is more amazing is that these patterns preserve aspects of the sound signal itself, such that when the drops fall on a resonating surface recognizable melodies are produced. Like its predecessor RainDance, Light Rain uses this phenomenon to play musical melodies on spectators’ umbrellas.

    The falling water also produces primary and secondary rainbows while the sun shines. The spectra of the rainbow are virtual images caused by the refraction of light in water droplets. With early morning and late afternoon light, the rainbows appear high in the sky; at mid-day, circular spectra form on the ground. Depending on the viewer’s position relative to the sun and water, the rainbow may appear to be 2 or 60 meters across.

    In this literally ‘immersive’ installation you can let the sunlight fall on your back and follow your shadow into the rainbow, or intercept the water streams with your umbrella to initiate surprising sound effects.