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Volkswagen Group China hails close of 'Rain Room'a major success
In this file photo visitors gather in the 'Rain Room' installation at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in Manhattan. The 5,000 square-foot installation creates a field of falling water that stops in the area where people walk through, allowing them to remain dry. The piece, created by Random International, releases a 260-gallon per minute shower around visitors. Mario Tama/Getty Images/AFP.

BEIJING.- January 4, 2016, saw the doors close on Rain Room, the critically-acclaimed art installation by London-based Random International, during the last day of a four-month exhibition at Yuz Museum Shanghai, sponsored solely by Volkswagen Group China. The first initiative in the ‘Volkswagen Culture Wave’, the company’s cultural engagement program aimed at making art and culture accessible to all through cultural and experiential events in order to inspire innovation and creativity, the display of this seminal artwork attracted around 200,000 visitors. Running alongside Rain Room, were well-received workshops, educational programmes and talks, as well as a photography competition – Capturing the Most Beautiful Rain – for both amateurs and professionals alike.

“The conclusion of the Rain Room exhibition at Yuz Museum Shanghai has been a resounding success for the first program under ‘Volkswagen Culture Wave’, our cultural engagement initiative,” said Prof. Dr. Jochem Heizmann, Member of the Board Volkswagen AG as well as President and CEO Volkswagen Group China. “Culture and the arts are fundamental to society in inspiring creativity and innovation; by engaging the public we hope to create a spark that influences the designers, artists and scientists of tomorrow.”

Rain Room caused a stir in Shanghai’s art scene during the four months it was on display due to the magical nature of the installation that made it seem as though humans controlled the rain: the work is a field of perpetually falling water that stops wherever someone walks thanks to clever use of digital technology, ensuring viewers never get wet. The buzz from Rain Room was amplified by interest in Volkwagen’s official social media channels, with around 130,000 views on WeChat and almost 140 million views on Weibo. Educational activities also added to the overall program on offer at the Yuz Museum, getting people actively involved with art.

One such event was a design workshop, led by Volkswagen Group China’s Head of Design, Mr. Simon Loasby, together with a team of 7 designers from SAIC Volkswagen and FAWVolkswagen. Held for media from across China, Loasby gave a talk on design philosophy and future trends of car design. Participants were then asked to create a storyline and design a car of the future, based on a science fiction movie scenario set in the year 2060.

Another experiential event that proved popular was the art education program run for children throughout the duration of the exhibition. Following a guided tour of Rain Room, groups of kids would participate in a workshop, led by experts imparting knowledge about the aesthetics of art, and create their own masterpieces based on what had been seen and learnt. Through these workshops, Volkswagen hopes to plant seeds for budding talents of the future.

Enthused by the exhibition, Volkswagen Group China also jointly ran a competition with Chinese National Geography, calling on professional and amateur photographers to show their creative side in Capturing the Most Beautiful Rain, with breathtaking results. The competition garnered widespread interest, with over 10,000 entrants submitting 12,000 photographs. The 18 finalists, 9 professional and 9 amateur, had their works displayed during an additional month-long exhibition at Yuz Museum Shanghai, which closed on the same day as Rain Room. Many of the finalists thanked Volkswagen for the opportunity to show their imagery to a wider audience in such a prestigious setting.

Summing up the first success for ‘Volkswagen Culture Wave’, Heizmann said, “For us at Volkswagen Group China, our cultural engagement program is not just a matter of sponsoring events with renowned partners such as the Yuz Museum. It really is about engaging with the public, offering cultural and educational opportunities that broaden people’s horizons and enable them to be exposed to creativity at work. By designing new formats and possibilities to interact with both the media and the general public, we aim to stimulate people of all ages and from all walks of life.”

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