040912:IT’S RAINING DATA (proposal)

idea by__  whoun & Alberto Rivero

abstract__  There are clouds. It rains, the rivers appear. Those lead to the sea. Water evaporates, elevates and becomes in clouds. Today there is a cloud, a great cloud of data. It rains, … Nowdays, the concepts ‘cloud’, ‘cloud computing’, ‘cloud uploading’, ‘cloud downloading’ are words or expressions very common in the pseudo-technological lingo imposed by the new technologies. People speak about ‘cloud’ and the data or files that form it. We upload our piece of life to the cloud, the picture of last holiday, the book we’re reading, the email with some good news, that special song. But imagine the cloud is a different thing. It is hard to think of it, provide it with a physicality, materialize it.

This project is an attempt to answer this desire: bring to the phisycal side a digital cloud of data and files.

project description__ 040912: IT’S RAINING DATA is an interactive installation,  the key elements are:

    • a cloud-shaped modular structure
    • a closed circuit of water
    • electronic circuit
    • software control device

The installation works as follow: the user or spectator using a wirel
ess device connected to the cloud is able to upload a file (image, audio, picture, …). The cloud gets that file and reacts. After that, the file is encoded by the cloud and it is transformed into rain. The rain falls down thank to an electronic system installed in the cloud. The water fallen is collected and returned back to the system by a closed circuit of water. The user, if he wishes, has the possibility of passing under the rain generated by encoding of the uploaded file.

The effect is an apparently random and chaotic rain but, in fact, it has a unique and singular structure because it is the  representation of the information stored in the cloud. Information that may be recompiled again if we observe patiently the sequence of water drops of falling rain.

operating principle__ 


processes or phases description__ 


The viewer or user by an application selects a file from the wireless device and uploads it to the cloud. The cloud gets the file and, through a sound or motion, reacts announcing to the user that the file has been received correctly.


Through a software program the cloud encodes the file and, as a result, obtains all bits, the zeros or ones, that make it up.

For example, if user has uploaded an 1mb image, the cloud, by encoding, gets the bits that formed that file.

Then the cloud divides the total number of bits in segments of bits each one. Analyzing the n bits of each segment one by one, the cloud obtains if it is a ‘0’ or a ‘1’ and does the following match:

0 = no drop

1 = drop

If the previous file of bits we divide it in segments of n = 256 bits, for example the first packet could be:

10011000101111110110001101010000100110001011111101100011 …

by encoding it, we would have:

drop no-drop no-drop drop drop no-drop no-drop no-drop drop …

In this manner till analyzing all the segments that composes the file.

in the example, it analyzes 4,000,000 packets of 256 bits each one.


The cloud provides n valves which drop the drop according to the previous encoding. Releasing the rain drop only the valve that correspond with a ‘1’.

In the proposed example, the cloud would have 256 valves. Getting the encoding for the first packet, a drop would be released in each valve that the result of the encoding is a ‘1’. That is, in the first valve, the fourth, the fifth, the ninth … in the rest no drop would be released.

basic setup scheme__ 


main project parts-tasks division__ 


For the project it is needed to develop an interactive application for a wireless device which its main features are:

    • file selection by the user
    • file decoding in bits
    • division of bits in nbits packets
    • connection with electronic device that controls the water valves and cloud reaction
    • display in real time the part of the uploaded file that is being  transformed in rain


For the project it is needed to develop an electronic circuit which its main functions are:

    • receive inputs of the software application
    • control the mechanism to open and close water valves
    • control the mechanism of feedback when the cloud receives a file

This electronics are based on the use of:

    • Arduino as controller
    • servo valves
    • servo motors
    • leds


For the project it is needed to build:


The structure has a cloud shape. Created by different simple geometric modules that fit one with each other  as a puzzle.

This structure contains inside both the valves water system as the reaction mechanism that is activated when a file is uploaded to the cloud.

The materials for building this structure can be:

      • wood
      • metal
      • paper
      • plastic


The main function of this circuit of closed water is release water by the valves according to the encoding by the software and collect it in a tank.

The water collected in the tank located under the user is driven by a water pump back to the valves system.

The materials for building this structure can be:

    • a water pump
    • metal parts
    • metal tubes
    • water valves
    • plastic tubes
The reaction mechanism causes a motion in the structure of the cloud and a change in the interior lighting of it.
The motion produced by servo motors can be a contraction/expansion of the modular structure of the cloud.
Also, at the same time the interior lighting changes due to the leds located in the mechanism.
The materials for building this structure can be:
    • nylon threads
    • metal parts