I'm only happy when it...
March 21, 2015 5:10 PM   Subscribe

Rainworks are positive messages and art that only appear when it rains. Peregrine Church watched a video showing off the properties of superhydrophobic coatings and got an idea uniquely suited to his environment: famously rainy Seattle.* Using a spray-on coating, he did a stencil at a bus stop. It's invisible in dry weather, but as rain hits it and the wet concrete darkens, the writing and art becomes clear. Since then, more have been added: tentacles, hopscotch grids, environmental messages, lily pads, and more.

Visit the rain.works site for videos and demonstrations, plus a brief FAQ. (I don't know what's *in* the spray Church uses, but it claims to be non-toxic and biodegradable. FWIW, he also says he's not being sponsored by the company whose spray he settled on.)

* I know, we're all shocked this happened in Seattle, right?
posted by wintersweet (35 comments total) 54 users marked this as a favorite
 
Ok, now *I* want to paint 'Attention: ground is now lava' on a bike path. This looks like fun!
posted by merelyglib at 5:18 PM on March 21, 2015 [5 favorites]


How about SLIPPERY?
posted by Jode at 5:26 PM on March 21, 2015 [6 favorites]


So I remember looking into the spray stuff for I-don't-remember-what and the amazon reviews said that it wears/chips/rubs/flakes off very easily. And you can see that in the viral video: the wine mostly stays off, except where the t-shirt likely rubbed against the jeans and eventually it wears through in other places as well. So how is this guy getting them to last 4 months?
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 5:33 PM on March 21, 2015


Also, I think it would be neat to put some little "paving stones" on a walkway that tends to get puddly. Then people could hop from stone to stone and not get all splashed and not have the bottoms of the pants all wet and icky.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 5:36 PM on March 21, 2015 [4 favorites]


Not only do I think this is great, but there is at least one within walking distance of my normal daily destinations. Amazing!
posted by pril at 5:43 PM on March 21, 2015


Am I the only person concerned about how this stuff is going to be sprayed on absolutely everything now particularly since according to the MSDS, no ecological impact assessment has been done on it yet?
posted by Poldo at 6:12 PM on March 21, 2015 [8 favorites]


We may have these all over the place here in California, BUT THERE'S NO WAY FOR US TO KNOW.
posted by entropicamericana at 6:14 PM on March 21, 2015 [43 favorites]


Poldo: No; that's why I wrote "claims to be non-toxic and biodegradable". It's an obvious concern. I don't have access to the article that I linked above ("Superhydrophobic surfaces and emerging applications: Non-adhesion, energy, green engineering", published in Current Opinion in Colloid & Interface Science--and even if I did, I don't have the background to understand it--but maybe somebody else does.
posted by wintersweet at 6:26 PM on March 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Since no one else has said it, kudos for the Garbage reference! (As I was listening to the album in question not 10 minutes ago.)

Presumably, whatever this stuff is, you can pour your misery down on it.
posted by McCoy Pauley at 6:34 PM on March 21, 2015 [9 favorites]


From the MSDS datasheet:
Fire Extinguishing Media:
Dry chemical, foam or carbon dioxide. Water may be ineffective.
posted by pwnguin at 6:38 PM on March 21, 2015 [10 favorites]


The concept is good, but the execution isn't all that exciting. Other artists will take this further, I suspect.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:43 PM on March 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Anybody figures a cheap way to replicate the stuff, let me know. I live in the Midwest, and it strikes me as a fun, harmless, and potentially uplifting guerrilla art project.
posted by Samizdata at 6:51 PM on March 21, 2015


I like that "Today's Weather: Rain" one. It's one of those things where you're always right because when you're wrong no one can see it. Like "Dear reader, you are reading".
posted by cyberscythe at 7:02 PM on March 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


I love this idea. I also love the concept that it could be used to shame water-wasters in drought-stricken Southern California...
posted by Joh at 7:13 PM on March 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


The concept is good, but the execution isn't all that exciting.

The concept seems drastically limited by constraining the messages to "positive" content. Something like "WE ARE NOT THE ONES WHO ARE DEAD; IT IS YOU WHO HAVE DIED" for example, isn't exactly positive, but it's a lot more interesting than "carpe diem" or "proud to be rainy".
posted by thelonius at 7:16 PM on March 21, 2015 [9 favorites]


I wonder what Hundertwasser would think.
posted by ovvl at 7:36 PM on March 21, 2015


The concept seems drastically limited by constraining the messages to "positive" content.

Gee, maybe I'm just burning out on cynicism, but I kind of like that it's positive messages. God knows my commute won't be any nicer if I drive past "YOUR LIFE ENDED TWO WEEKS AGO" on a concrete wall.
posted by teponaztli at 8:13 PM on March 21, 2015 [16 favorites]


I do actually like the positive messages myself (most of them are not too twee, and would actually make me smile a bit). I'm deeply entertained by the idea of more unnerving stuff, but enough people genuinely struggle with rainy days* that I'd think twice, myself.


* This asker might as well be me.
posted by wintersweet at 8:48 PM on March 21, 2015 [1 favorite]




I've been doing these in Arizona for years, God, what a ripoff artist.
posted by GuyZero at 9:19 PM on March 21, 2015 [5 favorites]


Samizdata, is under $20 cheap enough for you? Rustoleum NeverWet is readily available at hardware stores.
posted by katemonster at 9:36 PM on March 21, 2015


Something like "WE ARE NOT THE ONES WHO ARE DEAD; IT IS YOU WHO HAVE DIED" for example, isn't exactly positive, but it's a lot more interesting than "carpe diem" or "proud to be rainy".

TOYNBEE IDEA IN KUbricK's 2001 RESURRECT DEAD ON PLANET JUPiTER

I find the messages a bit dull as well, but the graphics are neat enough. It would be interesting to utilize differently textured or colored surfaces to allow for a less monochromatic work.
posted by dhartung at 9:54 PM on March 21, 2015


I love it!
posted by aryma at 10:16 PM on March 21, 2015


Now I hope it rains tomorrow so I can walk to one of these. Good news! It's supposed to rain tomorrow. And the next day! And the day after that! I love Seattle!
posted by MoonOrb at 10:31 PM on March 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


thelonius: Something like "WE ARE NOT THE ONES WHO ARE DEAD; IT IS YOU WHO HAVE DIED"
I'm not sure that's the biggest thing to worry about someone rain-ffiting
posted by ob1quixote at 2:09 AM on March 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


Don't give this to me. I'd paint penis's everywhere.
posted by ZaneJ. at 3:46 AM on March 22, 2015


I'd think after the first one guys would learn to keep thier pants up around you.
posted by Floydd at 4:22 AM on March 22, 2015 [14 favorites]


I'm *really* surprised Disney hasn't thought of this, or done it. It rains all the time in the Florida parks, esp. during the summer.

"Hey, let's build a theme park in a monsoon climate!" may not have been what Walt was thinking, but that's what happened...
posted by eriko at 6:14 AM on March 22, 2015


Agree that the concept was fascinating, but the messages were not that exciting. I'd like to see Barbara Kruger stuff on the sidewalks (most of which is still incredibly subversive).

One of the best moments in the video, for me, was seeing what was obviously a bottle of Hershey's chocolate syrup being poured all over clean white Keds tennis shoes - and seeing it not leave a trace, just roll and plop off. I LOVE THIS EXPERIMENT AND WANT TO RECREATE IT. (For reasons I do not understand.)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 7:14 AM on March 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'd paint penises everywhere.

I think the technical term is "wingless airplane".
posted by ambrosen at 6:08 PM on March 22, 2015


I'd paint penis's everywhere.

Of course you would - because you're so clever and original and creative.

*yawn*
posted by aryma at 10:11 PM on March 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


damn a yawn he got told
posted by entropicamericana at 7:52 AM on March 23, 2015


Funny, with the gifs I was expecting Dick Butt.
posted by Pronoiac at 1:29 PM on March 25, 2015


Some related hydrophobic applications:
Tests by Consumer Reports in 2009 found that much of what we buy never makes it out of the container and is instead thrown away — up to a quarter of skin lotion, 16 percent of laundry detergent and 15 percent of condiments like mustard and ketchup.
...
This is one of life’s little problems. LiquiGlide, a company started by a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and one of his graduate students, has come up with a solution: a coating that makes the inside of the bottle permanently wet and slippery. The glue quickly slides to the nozzle or back down to the bottom.

Dr. Varanasi did not set out to solve the problem of clingy glue and mayonnaise. Rather, he was thinking of larger-scale industrial challenges, like preventing ice formation on airplane wings and allowing more efficient pumping of crude oil and other viscous liquids.


They have a variety of videos but grape jelly is pretty neat. It's kinda weird how it took so long to figure out to design jelly squeeze bottles to be stored up side down, or in squeeze bottles at all I guess. Unsure what precise chemicals they're using, apparently this is trade secret, and probably varies.
posted by pwnguin at 2:34 PM on March 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


oh.
posted by Pronoiac at 10:18 AM on March 26, 2015


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