A Sneak Peek At Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies

 

Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang saddles up on one of 27 delightfully delirious pedicabs currently under construction. | Photo: Michael Bixler

Inside the rough-hewn bones of an old warehouse in Kensington a convoy of euphoria is taking form. Artist Cai Guo-Qiang and his team of technicians are busy creating a floating kaleidoscope of playful Chinese lanterns on wheels. Kittens, robots, insects, and panda bears reach for the rafters as they hang from arched steel cables attached to pedicabs. On September 14, the artist will debut his glowing dreamscape, Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies, when 900 illuminated lanterns attached to 27 pedicabs will glide along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at dusk in a rolling hallucination.

The public art happening was commissioned by Philadelphia’s Association for Public Art in celebration of the centennial of the Parkway. Following the opening ceremony, the interactive art project will be open to the public from September 15 to October 8 to take free, one-way rides from Sister Cities Park to Iroquois Park next to Eakins Oval.

This is the second time Cai Guo-Qiang has used the Benjamin Franklin Parkway as his canvas. In 2009, the artist electrified the façade of the east entrance of the Philadelphia Art Museum for 60 seconds with his large-scale, pyrotechnic project, Fallen Blossoms: Explosion Project. 

Take a sneak peek at Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies currently under construction on Mascher Street in Kensington. Photographs by Michael Bixler.

About the author

Michael Bixler is a writer, photographer, and managing editor of Hidden City Daily. He is a former arts and entertainment reporter with Mountain Xpress weekly in Asheville, North Carolina and a native of South Carolina. Bixler has a keen interest in adaptive reuse, underappreciated architecture, contemporary literature and art, and forward-thinking dialogue about people and place. mmbixler.tumblr.com

Send a message!



1 Comment


  1. This looks awesome!

Leave a Reply

Comment moderation is enabled, no need to resubmit any comments posted.

Recent Posts
In The Aftermath Of Charlottesville, Counting On The Catto Memorial

In The Aftermath Of Charlottesville, Counting On The Catto Memorial

August 15, 2017  |  Soapbox

As Southern cities erupt in protest and race-fueled violence over the removal of Confederate memorials, historian Amy Cohen looks at Philadelphia's lack of diversity in public monuments > more

In

In “Louis Kahn: The Power of Architecture,” The City Is A Muse

August 11, 2017  |  Buzz

Groundbreaking exhibit of the work of Louis Kahn brings his ideas to life, says Nathaniel Popkin > more

Convention Center Survivor A Symbol Of Philly's Faded Industries

Convention Center Survivor A Symbol Of Philly’s Faded Industries

August 10, 2017  |  The Shadow Knows

The Shadow takes us for a spin to the corner of Race and Camac Streets where the city's commercial sectors have shifted gears for over a century > more

A Sneak Peek At <em>Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies</em>

A Sneak Peek At Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies

August 8, 2017  |  Buzz

Michael Bixler has this behind-the scenes look at Cai Guo-Qiang's interactive dreamscape, "Fireflies." The Chinese artist will debut his mobile art project on September 14 in celebration of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway's centennial > more

City Mobilizes Against Trash With Zero Waste Action Plan

City Mobilizes Against Trash With Zero Waste Action Plan

August 7, 2017  |  News

Can the City eliminate Philly's litter epidemic by 2030? Nic Esposito, director of the Zero Waste and Litter Cabinet, says it can be done if government and residents work together. Michael Bixler catches up with the 'litter czar' to discuss an ambitious, municipal action plan to tackle the issue > more

Gardeners Bring Cradle Graves Back From The Dead

Gardeners Bring Cradle Graves Back From The Dead

August 3, 2017  |  Vantage

At Woodlands Cemetery, an army of volunteers preserve the memory of Victorian city dwellers with the Grave Gardeners program. Contributor Ann de Forest has the story > more