This print from Julian Opie’s Eight Landscapes series (2000) called Rain Footsteps Siren, shows a dark image of a street scene at night and in the rain, with the street lamps causing reflections on the damp road. Each image in this series was mounted with sound systems, playing the sounds described by the title or digital LED panels displaying the words of the title one by one. An additional version of Rain Footsteps Siren has been made with flashing lights.
Rain Footsteps Siren is photographic in its style and composition, but Opie has rendered this with a computer drawing programme that works to simplify and abstract the original image. Rain Footsteps Siren is devoid of any human presence and is depersonalised to the point of commodification whereby the viewer is able to make their own imaginative journey through the image. In composing this image from the perspective of someone walking along the road, Opie retains a sense of familiarity and human presence, thus inviting the viewer to step into the scene.
Opie names each print in this series with three words that refer to sounds that are not present in the actual work. Drawing attention to these sounds that can only be heard in the real world, Opie provokes the viewer to question the effectiveness of two-dimensional representations such as this.