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. Follow him on Instagram



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  1. This looks awesome!

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