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Sunday, 25 November 2012

A Guide to Surviving the Queue for Rain Room at The Barbican

Last weekend I finally gave into the hype and visited Random International's Rain Room at the Barbican, after reading so much positive feedback about it I was really eager to check it out, however I, like many others, had been put off by the three hour queue I encountered every time I tried to visit. 

If you have missed the phenomena the Rain Room builds on Britain' s obsession with the weather, brings it inside and allows you to control it. The guys who designed/created/engineered the piece don't see themselves as artists but I think this is one of the best installations of participation art available in London at the moment. It's different, quirky and completely bizarre  and that's probably the reason why people are spending up to four hours queuing to be part of it, but three to four hours is a large chunk of your day so here are some handy tips to prepare yourself  and make the hours fly by. 

1. Dress appropriately! Plenty of people  in the queue had come with all sorts of rain paraphernalia even though the weather was splendid outside. You really don't need this! It just means extra luggage, the whole idea of the installation is that you don't get wet whilst standing in the rain! As for any museum/gallery day out, wear flats and something warm.

2. Buddy up! It's a great idea to take someone with you to this exhibition, or befriend the person queueing next to you (we weren't standing by anyone particularly friendly unfortunately) its a long wait so if you need to go for a pee or grab a slice of yummy cake then its essential someone watches your spot! Also if you go with someone they can guard camp whilst you check out other exhibitions. 

3. Food and water! You will probably need some sort of nutrition to get you through the wait and also it will help to keep your brain in tip top condition so you really enjoy the experience. A bottle of water is a necessity. I also took some lunch with me, but paid the price when my tuna sandwich ended up smeared across my bag :( but do take advantage of the Barbican's food hall and those lush cakes they sell. You'll be needing the sugar!  

4. Something to do! A book, a good buddy to talk to and a well charged phone will help the hours pass by, plenty of visitors appeared to spend their time studying in the queue, make the most of the three hours . Those who came with nothing ended up bored and leaving the queue, luckily for me this cut my time down! 

5. Remember why you're queuing
  The Rain Room really is an amazing exciting experience, it blows your mind how you can be standing in a shower without getting wet, it is really worth the queue. Plus remember the queue is so long because they only let five people onto the platform at once, to enhance your experience. Also the visitor assistants let you  play in the installation for as long as you like. 

By T x

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