The Philadelphia Museum of Art, December 11, 2009, 4:35pm
350 frames per second
Edited running time 00:06:36
© Cai Guo-Qiang

Fallen Blossoms: Explosion Project took place at The Philadelphia Museum of Art at sunset on December 11, 2009. The momentary explosion traces the form of a blossoming flower, starting with its delicate inner petals and then radiating outward, before vanishing to smoke. For presentation at The Fabric Workshop and Museum, high-definition footage of the explosion is played back at a significantly slower rate, so that viewers can witness the flower's blossoming and vanishing with a continual perception of time, presenting the desire to capture the simultaneous bloom and decay. In Chinese, the adage hua kai hua luo 花開花落 (literally, "flower blossoms, flower falls") symbolizes fleeting time and is also often used in classical Chinese poetry to express profound feelings on the brevity of flourishing lives. In Eastern philosophy, there is another proverb, "A fallen flower can enrich the spring soil to bring forth more blossoms." Hence, a fallen blossom is not emblematic of an ending; rather, it propagates the circle of life, enabling regeneration and prosperity to follow.