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Rainfall

Chris Welsby
1983
Sound 16mm

Rainfall

Trapped in the despair of the early eighties, Rainfall was to be a magical place; a sort of pagan shrine where renewal and rebirth were still a possibility.

The projection screen in this installation is a horizontal plane suspended two feet above the gallery floor. The projector beam is a vertical cone of light which appears almost solid in the particle-filled atmosphere. Rain appears to be falling down this cone of light and onto the screen below, transforming the screen into a surface of water pitted by raindrops. The sound of heavy rain falling in a forest fills the acoustic space. Is this water surface, this pond, or river, also falling from the projector? Or is it an accumulation of water particles; a record of the rainfall since the exhibition began?

Rainfall was first exhibited at the Slow Dancer Co-op in Liverpool in 1983, in what had previously been a cell in the erstwhile police headquarters building. A prisoner's dream? A hole in the roof through which the rain is falling? A shaft of daylight illuminating the dark interior of the cell ... hallucination ... artifice ... dream ... or metaphor? CW.

A revised version of Rainfall was exhibited in Sign of the Times, MOMA Oxford, 1990.

"Chris Welsby has produced a substantial body of work in single screen film and installation. Like Hamish Fulton he does not touch the landscape directly; nature is allowed to direct the content of his films. In his installation Rainfall(1983), an artificial timelessness, created by a vertically projected film loop of flowing rain, interrupts the unification of time achieved in the viewing of unedited film of the weather. The potential of the installation as a sanctuary of peace binds the landscape to the mind via technology, the interface between which forms the core of Welsby's work. The installation's purity is underlined by the illusion of nature remaining untouched by any theatrical use of physical materials other than film itself."
Chrissie Iles, Signs of the Times catalogue, 1990.

Revised Version 1990

Made with assistance from The British Council.
Sound Realization, recording, and mix by Robert MacNevin

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