It’s common knowledge that the Chinese invented gunpowder, and then took to using it for both displays in the form of fireworks, and also for military applications. Nowadays, massive firework events are held all over the world – but it’s a contemporary Chinese artist – Cai Guo Qiang – who is taking the artistic side of gunpowder to new heights.
In the piece depicted above, Cai Guo-Qiang conceived the rainbow, while it was produced by Fireworks by Grucci Inc.. The “Transient Rainbow” celebrated the opening of MoMA QNS with a rainbow of fireworks that cascaded across the East River, tracking the Museum’s movement from Manhattan to Queens. The dazzling visual effect resembled a rapidly moving monumental arch (500 feet wide and 120 feet high), momentarily connecting the two banks at the thundering speed of 100 feet per second.
Washington was also treated to a state-of-the-art pyrotechnics event along the Potomac River, created exclusively for the opening of the Summer festival. Called an “Explosion Event” by the artist, his spectacular display incorporated beautifully choreographed traditional fireworks, basic primordial gunpowder and fuse, and high-tech computer-chip embedded firework shells to ignite dancing boats, floating kites, and flying fire dragons – as well as an awesome tornado spiraling across and punctuating the sky.
Cai is taking a senior role in advising and creating the Opening ceremony for the Beijing Olympics. No doubt, more pyrotechnics will be on display – here’re some videos to see what will be in store: