Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies
September 15 - October 8, 2017, Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia
Thank you to everyone who joined us on the Parkway for Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies and supported this magical installation! Photos below.
- Internationally renowned artist Cai Guo-Qiang’s largest public art project in the US in a decade
- Commissioned by the Association for Public Art with Fung Collaboratives on the occasion of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway’s centennial, with major support from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage
- 27 customized pedicabs adorned with hundreds of luminous colorful lanterns glided along the Parkway at night, drawing on memories of the traditional lantern festivals of the artist’s childhood
- Ran September 15 – October 8, 2017 on the Parkway, Thursdays through Sundays from 6-10pm
- Opening celebration and premiere was September 14th, with a special artist-led performance
- Free public rides in the pedicabs began September 15th with one-way trips from Iroquois Park to Sister Cities Park and vice versa. Walk-ups were welcome and reservations could be made online.
members of the public were invited to board the vehicles to take rides up and down the Parkway from Sister Cities Park at Logan Square to Iroquois Park across from Eakins Oval
In September 2017, the Association for Public Art (aPA) in Philadelphia presented a major new site-specific work by the internationally acclaimed artist Cai Guo-Qiang. Commissioned by aPA with Fung Collaboratives on the occasion of the centennial of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies invited the public to actively experience the grand boulevard as a nocturnal dreamscape conjured from the languorous movements of bobbing clusters of glowing handcrafted Chinese lanterns and groups of customized peddle vehicles. Nine hundred illuminated lanterns in a bevy of colors and shapes floated along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, held aloft by a fleet of 27 pedicabs.
Fireflies, the artist’s largest public art project in the US in a decade, ran for approximately four weekends: September 14 to October 8, 2017, Thursdays through Sundays from 6-10pm. Beginning September 15, members of the public were invited to board the vehicles to take rides up and down the Parkway from Sister Cities Park at Logan Square to Iroquois Park across from Eakins Oval.
The Fireflies lanterns were handcrafted in Cai Guo-Qiang’s hometown of Quanzhou, China. Their bright, twinkling lights evoked the artist’s own childhood memories. Among them were orb and star shaped lanterns, as well as designs of emojis; pandas, roosters and tigers; space aliens and UFOs; cars, trains, boats, submarines, helicopters, and rocket ships; and hamburgers, sushi, and donuts. Transported to Philadelphia, their various colors and shapes evoked the diverse cultures and peoples that come from all over the world to take root in the US.
Major support for Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies was provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.
Your gift will support the world premiere of Fireflies in Philadelphia.
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