this september, philadelphia will host a dream-like light and movement performance by chinese artist cai guo-qiang, where a fleet of glowing pedi-cabs will parade down the city’s grand boulevard. attached to each vehicle is a colorful array of handcrafted chinese lanterns, taking the form of emojis, pandas, roosters, tigers, aliens, cars, trains, boats, submarines, helicopters, rocket ships, hamburgers, and sushi.

 

these motifs — evocative of the artist’s own childhood memories — have been re-imagined to become a set of 900 luminous lanterns handmade in cai guo-qiang’s hometown of quanzhou, china.

cai guo-qiang fireflies
all images by jeff fusco photography, courtesy association of public art

 

 

presented by the association for public art in philadelphia with fung collaboratives, cai guo-qiang’s ‘fireflies’ debut on september 14, 2017. the 27 pedi-cabs will make their way along the parkway, creating a luminous choreography as the lantern characters bob up-and-down the street. following the opening ceremony, members of the public are invited to board the vehicles and ride from sister cities park to iroquois park, near the philadelphia museum art, while pedestrians and passersby can marvel at the aerial dance of luminous orbs from afar.

cai guo-qiang fireflies
philadelphia will host a dream-like light and movement performance by chinese artist cai guo-qiang

 

 

 

‘I hope this project is particularly meaningful, given the context of this history and the national flags that line the city’s artery,’ says cai guo-qiang. ‘I am shedding the conventions of large-scale celebrations to inject childlike playfulness and laughter into the centennial’s festivities.’ ‘fireflies’ is presented for approximately four weekends — thursdays through sundays, four hours a night — from september 14 to october 8, 2017.

cai guo-qiang fireflies
a test run before the fleet of glowing pedi-cabs will parade down the city’s grand boulevard in september 

cai guo-qiang fireflies
attached to each vehicle is a colorful array of handcrafted chinese lanterns

cai guo-qiang fireflies
the lanterns take the form of emojis, pandas, roosters, tigers, aliens, cars, trains, boats and more…

cai guo-qiang fireflies
900 luminous lanterns have been handmade in cai guo-qiang’s hometown of quanzhou, china

cai guo-qiang fireflies
the 27 pedi-cabs will make their way along the parkway, creating a luminous choreography 

cai guo-qiang fireflies
members of the public are invited to board the vehicles and ride through philadelphia

cai guo-qiang fireflies
pedestrians and passersby can marvel at the aerial dance of luminous orbs from afar

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