In celebration of Central Park's 150th anniversary Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang's Light Cycle illuminated Central Park on Monday, September 15,
2003, at 7:45 p.m. Signifying renewal and wholeness, the explosion event was
specially commissioned as the denouement of a summer-long celebration of the
vitality brought to our City by Central Park. Light Cycle highlighted the
Park as the heart of Manhattan, rendering it the brightest point of the City
for one festive night. Light Cycle was curated by Creative Time, presented
in conjunction with The City of New York and the Central Park Conservancy,
and sponsored by Häagen-Dazs as part of their Art of Pure Pleasure
SEE DOCUMENTATION OF THE PROJECT
Light Cycle is curated by Creative Time, presented in conjunction with The City of New York and the Central Park Conservancy, and sponsored by Häagen-Dazs as part of their Art of Pure Pleasure initiative.
Designed to provide a variety of experiences, Light Cycle will unfold in three stages from five firing locations in the Park, taking as its central motif a 1,000 foot high colossal halo of fire and light. Cai Guo-Qiang, world renowned for his explosion projects, in which he uses gunpowder as an artistic and expressive medium, has collaborated with Fireworks by Grucci, America's oldest fireworks company, to develop state-of-the-art technology that employs programmable microchips in each shell, allowing the artist to draw in the sky. The total duration of Light Cycle will be approximately 4 to 5 minutes.
Light Cycle will begin with Signal Towers, a series of five pillars of fire referencing ancient methods of communication. These resonant symbols, reminiscent of geysers of fire, will extend 600 feet high and move from south to north from the five firing locations: Heckscher Ballfields (near West 64th Street), Cherry Hill (center of Park near 72nd Street and the Bethesda Fountain), two sites over the Reservoir (on the island between the south and north gatehouses at 87th and 94th Streets), and the North Meadow (center of Meadow near 98th Street, close to the North Meadow Recreation Center).
The second stage, Light Cycle, is the focus of the program, and will consist of a series of luminous halos. The artist will draw three rings horizontally over the tree line before creating a fourth that will extend to 1,000 feet in height and hang vertically over the Reservoir. For the final ring, more than 10,000 titanium salutes will explode thunderously in three successive sequences forming a "turning wheel of light." The artist describes these pointillistic circles as "amulets placed over the heart of Manhattan."
The third and final stage is titled White Night, in which shells producing an effect similar to signal flares will be shot into the air from all five locations to form canopies of bright white light. In contrast to the darkness that characterizes Central Park at night, these slow, descending lights will provide a revelatory perspective of the illuminated Park. The pure and measured effects of White Night will be the peaceful conclusion to the evening.