Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies
September 15 - October 8, 2017, Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia
Please note that Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies is no longer on view in Philadelphia.
NEWS: aPA Speaks Out Against Censorship of Fireflies in Coral Gables, Florida (2021)
- 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.
Voices heard: CAI GUO-QIANG (the artist who created Fireflies) is famous for his virtuosic and poetic use of fireworks and gunpowder. For more than 25 years, Cai Guo-Qiang’s practice has spanned a range of media in contemporary art, including drawing, installation, video, and performance art, as well as a range of Chinese traditions in medicine, art, and place making. PENNY BALKIN BACH is the former Executive Director & Chief Curator of the Association for Public Art (aPA) and the author of many books and articles about public art in Philadelphia. LANCE FUNG is Chief Curator of Fung Collaboratives, conceiving and realizing art exhibitions around the world. The aPA commissioned Fireflies in collaboration with Fung Collaboratives. Segment Producer: Anne Hoffman.
Penny Balkin Bach 是费城公共艺术协会（aPA）的执行总监兼首席策展人。曾出版多本关于费城公共艺术的书籍及相关文章。
Lance Fung 是Fung Collaboratives的首席策展人；于世界各地构思并实现艺术展览。 此项目由费城公共艺术协会（aPA）和Fung Collaboratives委托创作。
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