Simulation Design Changes

The area available to build my simulation does not easily facilitate something to the scale that I have designed, so I need to address this problem. In addition, the use of fishing line and glycerine in the design removes the element of sound created by the landing of water droplets, so a recording of the sound of rain will need to be included to enhance the atmosphere.  Due to the fact the receptors for four out of the five senses can only be found on the head, I have decided to reduce the size of the simulation, so that it no longer encompasses the whole body, only the head and shoulders. By doing this, the construction of the design becomes more practical, whilst maintaining the overall effect of the simulator.

  • The method used to create the simulation remains unchanged
  • 1m in diameter, 0.5m high
  • Suspended from the ceiling
  • Hole to enter from underneath
  • Head and shoulders only area of the body inside the simulation.
  • Column of black fabric around the edge of the hole from the base to the floor to block out any outside light

This design was then adjusted to include the use of struts instead of hanging it from the ceiling due to the weight of the simulation and provide it with some rigidity.

  • 1m x 1m x 1.8m (Area for the simulation only 0.5m)
  • Sound effects of rain played in mini speakers situated in the corners of the simulation.

Design Details

I have decided to have my rain simulation in a dark room to allow the rainfall to be the main focus of the piece and not be detracted from by other visual elements. The insertion on LED lights into the design is to allow enough light into the piece so the user can see what is happening around them. To make the experience more realistic I plan to position the LED’s in star constellations to make it appear like a night’s sky.

I did consider including an umbrella that would hang from the roof above the central base over the viewer, however this would block out a large number of LED lights and would deem their function useless so I decided not to go ahead with this idea.

Simulation Design

  • 2m x 2m x 2m
  • Circular central base to stand on
  • Walkway to and from it on 2 adjacent sides to allow entrance and exit to the simulation
  • Threads of fishing line attached from the roof to the floor keeping the walkway and central base clear for the viewer to pass through
  • Glycerine dripping down the fishing line to create rain effect
  • Network of pipes on the roof
  • Pipes pierced and fishing line threaded through
  • Drainage trough on the floor
  • Holes in the base to allow fishing line and glycerine to pass through
  • Pump to pump the glycerine from the trough up through the pipes on the roof
  • Dark room
  • LED’s in the roof

Rain Lamps

I have looked into artificial rain on a smaller scale, in a more controlled environment.

Instead of using water, these decorative features use a combination of glycerine and fishing line. The viscosity of the glycerine allows it to adhere to the fishing line so that the positioning of each line of rainfall is controlled.

I have also discovered this method had been used on a much larger scale on a rain fountain in Southern California’s Topanga Plaza Shopping Centre in Woodland Hills, made in 1964.

By adopting the use of fishing line and glycerine in my own installation it allows me to have more control over my simulation and still maintain a visual quality within the simulation even if there is limited rainfall.

Artificial Rain

The use of artificial rain is commonly seen in many TV adverts, music videos and films; such as ‘Spiderman’, ‘Singing in the rain’, ‘High Fidelity’ and intentionally identified in ‘The Truman Show’. I began investigating into special effects methods. Some rain scenes, not created by computer technology, are made using combinations of rain bars, rain stands and miles of pipes.

To create my rain simulation, I am going to incorporate the use of pipework and taps, which will allow me to control where the water is inserted and monitor the flow of liquid into to the installation.


After investigating ‘What defines a phobia?’, ‘What symptoms can present with phobias?’ and ‘What types of phobias there are?’, I have then looked into the two main methods used to help overcome irrational fears; CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and Immersion Therapy.

Immersion Therapy is the most common method that uses simulation. This allows the person so be exposed to the subject in a controlled environment and gradually leads to desensitization.

Ombrophobia is the fear of rain. The two most common causes of this fear are being told at a young age that going out in the rain will make you sick, which can then manifest into an immense fear or the feeling of depression that is often associated with a grey sky. I find the association with depression rather interesting and this has led me to consider building a simulation that tries to address the issue by creating a ‘rain storm’ in a controlled and peaceful environment.


Pho.b.ia: a diverse collection of seemingly unrelated objects and artworks under the umbrella of fear, dislike and aversion. 

In this exhibition I visited, a range of phobias have been portrayed from popular aversions, such as spiders, to very idiosyncratic pathological terrors, such as buttons, wrinkles or long words and amongst the pieces of artwork were names of various phobias from which people suffer.