CAI Guoqiang, chief visual art designer for the Opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Winter Olympics: The winter Olympic-themed fireworks are lighter and more environmentally friendly

2022-05-11 0 By

It has been 14 years since CAI Guoqiang’s fireworks lit up the sky above the Bird’s Nest in Beijing.At the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games, classic pictures such as the big footprints coming steadily along the central axis and the Olympic rings silently appearing with thousands of stars are still engraved in the minds of the audience.In 2022, CAI guoqiang once again refreshed the public’s impression of the fireworks show with his more light and environmentally friendly “Spring Is Coming”, “Welcoming pine” and “All over the Sky with snow”.CAI Guoqiang, chief visual art designer for the Opening and closing ceremonies of Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games.Interviewees gave pictures of the design process of fireworks. CAI guoqiang revealed that he once had the idea of using thousands of drones to carry fireworks and draw a “map of rivers and mountains” in the air, but gave up the idea because of many uncertainties.”The moment the fireworks go off, the show is no longer his work, it’s the work of the country.”CAI Guoqiang’s design manuscript.The fireworks show featured three features: What was the name of the display?How long was the performance?CAI: The design guideline is based on the “simple, safe and exciting” requirements of the Winter Olympics. The number of fireworks is less than one tenth of that of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. The total length of fireworks is only two minutes.Fireworks show around the theme of the opening ceremony, divided into three performances to participate in the opening ceremony.The first was the countdown to the opening ceremony and the theme of start of Spring.The second is to announce the opening of the Winter Olympics, that is, the welcoming pine;The final scene shows the Olympic torch being lit with fireworks as a farewell.Each display lasted only 40 seconds, with three fireworks totaling 120 seconds.Beijing News: What are the creative ideas of the fireworks design?CAI Guoqiang: fireworks show requirements are both simple, but also set off the atmosphere, mainly in 2008, the development of modeling, text fireworks as the protagonist, with the field performance to play the icing on the cake.Countdown 10 numbers, with the 24 solar terms inverted ushered in the “Spring”, we in the sky “Spring” Chinese characters and English “spring” special effects of the same case shape;With fireworks to show the growth of spring grass, all things recovery;Live performance children blowing dandelion, we also specially developed dandelion fireworks.When we declared the Winter Olympics open, we planted a big welcoming pine from the top of the Bird’s Nest, a symbol of hospitality and welcome.Seen from a distance, the welcoming pine and the bird’s nest match together, just like a pot of bonsai in traditional Chinese culture, making the bird’s nest a beautiful flowerpot.When the torch was lit, we used special effects fireworks to hit two “big snowflakes”, followed by “colorful five rings”, and then dozens of seconds of “Northern scenery, snow all over the sky”.This fireworks show has three features. The first one is the special effects modeling in both Chinese and English which we have never done before.The second is the development and design of “welcoming guest pine”. Fireworks explode outward from the middle to form a circle, and the pine needle is upward. Therefore, it is necessary to study the opening (effect) of fireworks in the process of flying into the sky.Third, basic with colorful fireworks in the world for many years, synchronized complete Japanese fireworks style is given priority to, every time a firework display is what all have, this time the fireworks are clean, I pursue is “northland scenery, all over the sky snow”, in addition to the spring and the rings, basic use monochrome, with its theme apt, also more contracted and the atmosphere.Beijing News: You have mentioned “simplicity and simplicity” many times. What was your consideration for choosing this design direction?CAI guoqiang: According to the situation at home and abroad, as well as the epidemic situation, the total length of the whole party is greatly shortened compared to 2008. From the leadership level to the art director, the overall creative choice of such a simple and simple theme.Beijing News: Where did the idea of elements such as dandelion and welcoming pine come from?Why present these elements at the Winter Olympics?CAI guoqiang: Behind this is the foundation of our national culture.In the Tokyo Olympic Games, less than six months after the end of the epidemic, we can see that they presented a lot of difficulties and sadness during the epidemic, which reflects a Kind of Japanese culture of mourning for objects, which is very poetic and creative, but it looks sad in Chinese culture.We always aspire to light at a difficult time Chinese culture, the pursuit of hope, is just on the opening day of the spring throttle, so more will be twenty-four solar terms from the rehearsal, after “slight cold” “great cold” finally “spring”, the pursuit of the concept of a circle of life, life will never stop, on the subject, there will be a spring, some full of energy, such as visitor, northland scenery elements.The Beijing News: We saw a lot of elements echoing the Winter Olympics in the performance. Could you tell us more about the design concept?CAI: Whether it’s snowflakes, ice cubes or welcoming pines, the most distinctive feature of these elements is the color of snow and ice.If I hadn’t mentioned it, you probably wouldn’t have noticed that the giant welcoming pine after the opening ceremony was cedar. The following “swimming star” was made to have a sliding effect as much as possible, like skating, blasting out will swim, all inspired by the winter Olympics ice sports design.The Beijing News: The fireworks show had many highlights, modeling and special performances. What was the process from conception to completion?CAI guoqiang: We think a lot during the design process, and we are slowly subtracting.At the beginning of the design we thought, how should we present a piece when we announce the opening?There needs to be a symbol of Chinese culture, but it needs to be global, and it needs to be different from the past and the present.We began to have a creative, with thousands of drones carrying small fireworks, computer control in the sky exploded thousands of miles of rivers and mountains picture scroll, praise the green mountains and rivers of the earth, after the announcement of the opening is not “bangbangbang”, but quietly painted “rivers and mountains”, very environmental protection concept.But the idea isn’t easy, because there are so many problems with signal control in the air, and what if it’s a bad day?There were a lot of factors to consider, a lot of struggles.In the theme of “Spring is Coming,” we thought creatively of putting fireworks from day to night.Night fireworks mainly rely on light, daytime fireworks mainly rely on smoke, the shape is more delicate and durable, is also suitable to show the scene of blooming spring grass.Although we passed the tests of environmental experts and relevant departments, a large number of cigarettes would give the audience a more environmentally unfriendly psychological feeling from the senses, and we finally chose to give up.In the original design, the opening ceremony ended with a design that echoed the 2008 Olympics.In 2008, we used a series of large footprints from the central axis to the Bird’s Nest, is the beginning of the performance;At the end of the performance, the bird’s nest was compared to the earth, and fireworks were rotated and sprayed over the bird’s nest to form a tangent line, which was drawn out to the sky along the central axis, towards the universe and the future.The idea didn’t materialize, either, as the theme of the Games was quieter and more approachable.As an artist, we need to make some judgments and adjustments in the current situation at home and abroad.Beijing News: What was the hardest part of the whole design?What was the most intense moment?CAI guoqiang: The most difficult thing is to master the strength.Artists are always creative, always wanting to be refreshing, always wanting to share their curiosity with the world.For example, how to display fireworks in the daytime at night requires “snow falling all over the sky”, thousands of stars flashing in the sky, lighting the area around the bird’s nest like day, and setting off daytime fireworks on this basis. This magical moment is considered from the perspective of an artist.But on the other hand, we need to consider whether the reality will give people a feeling of not environmental protection, because this is not the work of an artist, but the work of a country.The process of deciding what to do with these things is the most difficult.Beijing News: You are also a key creative member of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games. In your opinion, what is the most obvious difference between the two Opening ceremonies?CAI guoqiang: Take the appearance of the five rings as an example, I think you can see the difference.In 2008, to a rings, we from 10 kilometers of YongDingMenWai, along the central axis with 29 large footprints, finally a footprint appeared over the bird’s nest, become a star falls, the bird’s nest “bowl” under the stars falls, LED the stars to form between the rings on the ground, “flying” landing will rings “take” from the ground up, the scene shocked me.This time, however, an ice cube emerges from the ground, with five rings laser-carved out of the cube.On the one hand, China is more confident. In 2008, we embraced the world at a faster pace. We wanted to talk about not only the 5,000-year-old civilization, but also the rapid development of contemporary China after the reform and opening up.On the other hand, the reality at home and abroad and the situation during the epidemic also make us pursue more lightweight and concise.Beijing News: how do you feel about the fireworks you designed over the Bird’s Nest during the two Olympics?CAI guoqiang: What artists can do is a very small part.Regardless of the country, each performance is a reflection of that country’s reality, cultural history, political power and aspirations, and the Olympics are very representative of that country’s present.Both the 2008 Summer Olympics and the 2022 Winter Olympics represent the current reality of the country and the artists of this era.Beijing News: Are there any events or athletes that you personally pay special attention to in the upcoming Winter Olympics?CAI guoqiang: SINCE the Turin Winter Olympics in 2006, I have watched the opening ceremony of almost every Winter Olympics and Summer Olympics except the Tokyo Olympics because of the epidemic.Every time after watching the Opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics, I always leave a day to watch the games, respectively figure skating and high platform snow jumping, a beautiful, a shock, let me look forward to.This time, I won’t have time to watch it because I have to prepare for the closing ceremony.Journalist ︱ Ma Jinqian gao Zhao Editor ︱ Zhang Lei proofreader liu Yue