Random International: Interview with the creators of Rain Room

Random International is an art group founded in 2005 by Hannes Koch and Florian Ortkrass. Today they work with teams out of studios in London and Berlin, focusing on experimental practice in contemporary art. Their work explores the human condition in an increasingly mechanized world through emotional yet physically intense experiences. Their iconic work, Rain Room, is in the permanent collection of LACMA, the Maxine and Stuart Frankel Foundation for Art, the YUZ Foundation, the Jackalope Art Collection and the Sharjah Art Foundation (UAE) and has been exhibited around the world.

Random International’s inaugural NFT work, rain 10x10m H264 720P.mp4, is the very first animation they created when Rain Room was just an idea. It was minted on April 19 in exclusive partnership with Verisart and SuperRare as part of 10×10: 10 inaugural NFTs by 10 major contemporary artists over 10 weeks. Bidding is open until 1pm EDT April 22.

Random International, rain 10x10m H264 720P.mp4, 2008, NFT

Rain Room

Random International’s iconic work, Rain Room, enables visitors to walk through a shower of rain without getting wet. Through engineering work and algorithms, Rain Room is designed so that human presence prevents the rain from falling. While the sound and smell of the rain are intense, touch is absent as visitors remain dry as they walk through the space. The work explores how human relationships to each other and to nature are increasingly mediated through technology.

RANDOM INTERNATIONAL, Rain Room, 2015. In the collection of LACMA, LA. Exhibited courtesy of LACMA, RH, Restoration Hardware and The Hyundai Project: Art + Technology a joint initiative exploring the convergence of art and technology. Photography by RANDOM INTERNATIONAL

Where it all started: rain 10x10m H264 720P.mp4

Random International’s inaugural NFT is their very first animation created as a visualization of their now-iconic Rain Room. Random International came up with the idea for Rain Room in 2008 while working on a long line of experiments with printing information with different media. “That step from thinking about an initially convoluted project to the idea for Rain Room took 30 seconds, the actual execution took another four years” explain Random International.

Once the mental idea had been formed, the next step was to clearly visualize the work. “In order to understand how it would feel to move through the experience, we needed the animation; a lot of what we do has a temporal component and is best understood sequentially rather than in a still image.”

The artists explain, “our artistic process is digitally native: we sketch, draw, paint, experiment, plan, build and test things in a digital format. Our work doesn’t start off with slick photorealistic renders, it’s usually raw, often even awkward but very close to the process and dear to our practice.”

For Random International, the “NFT landscape is a fantastic opportunity to share these processes and our studies and experiments with a broader and global community.”

“Thus, for our first drop, we decided to share the true origins of Rain Room in the form of the first-ever, fast (too fast!) little Cinema 4D animation of a Rain Room which is the opposite of slick. We created the animation about a week after we came up with the original idea (in the year the concept of blockchain was formulated). It then took another 4 years before the actual physical work premiered at the Curve Space and went on to MoMA, YUZ and LACMA etc.”

Random International think by doing and the process of creating the physical Rain Room was iterative. They explain “we need to be able to see it to grasp it, and then further refine it and ultimately wrestle it into the real world.”

The first proof of concept prototype setup in the studio in 2011. Image courtesy of RANDOM INTERNATIONAL. FILM: https://vimeo.com/51830893

The early animation was not originally created to be shared with the wider world. It formed an essential part of the process and shows Random International’s approach to experimentation, which is grounded in fast and iterative visual and conceptual editing. As one of the first steps of their process, the video is both intimate and authentic. By creating a unique NFT for this work, collectors have the opportunity to own a hugely important element of Rain Room’s creation process.

RANDOM INTERNATIONAL, Rain Room, 2019. Exhibited as part of Out of Control exhibition at Museum of Contemporary Art Busan, 2019. Photography by Museum of Contemporary Art Busan

Certified by Verisart

Random Internationals’ inaugural NFT is certified by Verisart, an award-winning blockchain certification platform. Designed to empower artists to tell the story of their work, the digital certificates include additional images, videos and documents. For collectors, Verisart’s patent-pending Certificates of Authenticity (COA) form an integral part of collecting NFTs. They provide confidence in the identity of the artist and the verified history of the artwork.

Certificate of Authenticity for Random International’s NFT, rain 10x10m H264 720P.mp4, courtesy of Verisart.

The NFT space as an opportunity

Random International are excited about the possibilities that NFTs can offer to artists. They are interested in the NFT space as providing an authentic and solid revenue stream for artistic practice and as providing a platform for sharing and valuing authentic, meaningful work and experiments. Their hope is that digital studies and animations could be offered on NFT platforms to support the development of new work.

The artists add, “another aspect that fascinates us with the new format of the NFT: through being traded, the ideas and the work are anchored in a shared reality without having to become a necessarily physical reality.”

Random International’s first foray into the NFT space is an opportunity to demonstrate their process and share a very personal work with a wider audience. For collectors, this is an exciting opportunity to collect a work that is historically significant for its role in the creation of the famed Rain Room.

Upcoming project: “No One is an Island” presented by Random International, Superblue, Studio Wayne McGregor and BMW i; dancers: Rebecca Bassett-Graham and Jacob O’Connell (Company Wayne McGregor). Photo: Ravi Deepres. © BMW AG (11/2020)

About the artists

Art Group RANDOM INTERNATIONAL run a collaborative studio for experimental practice within contemporary art. Founded in 2005 by Hannes Koch and Florian Ortkrass, today they work with larger teams of diverse talent out of studios in London and Berlin.

Questioning aspects of identity and autonomy in the post-digital age, the group’s work invites active participation. RANDOM INTERNATIONAL explores the human condition in an increasingly mechanized world through emotional yet physically intense experiences.

Their work Rain Room is in the collections of the Jackalope Art Collection Melbourne and LACMA and has been shown at MoCA Busan, the YUZ Museum in Shanghai, MoMA New York, and London’s Barbican. An edition of Rain Room became the first permanently installed artwork at the Sharjah Art Foundation (UAE) and is housed in its own building.

Random International © Mark Davies. Courtesy of the artists.

Bidding for Random International’s inaugural NFT, rain 10x10m H264 720P.mp4, closes at 1pm EDT on April 22.

Join Random International on ART TALKS WITH VERISART to hear them discuss life, art and tech with Robert Norton, CEO and co-founder of Verisart. Tuesday, April 20 at 3pm EDT/8pm BST on Clubhouse.

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