LA's Museum of Contemporary Art invited the city to the opening party for Cai Guo-Qiang's "Sky Ladder" exhibition, the highlight of which was a massive explosion of rockets and other fireworks, titled “Mystery Circle.” Thousands of people filled the museum grounds for the big event.
Several introductory speakers (including the artist) described what was about to happen, but I don’t think anyone was anticipating the effect of 40,000 rockets launched directly at us. The light, heat, and concussive force were terrifying and beautiful.
MOCA shot video of the event from many angles, and made this nifty map to show the event videos from a myriad of perspectives. Here's a more composed video that combines a bunch of the views:
Cai Guo-Qiang has gotten so much attention lately that he is starting to get endorsements, including a limited-edition Lomography signature camera. I'm a crappy photographer, but that didn't deter the nice people at Lomography from lending me a Cai Guo-Qiang camera to document the explosion event and the exhibition. The camera is really neat and I enjoyed messing around with analog settings - it's harder and much more rewarding than slapping an Instagram filter on a digital image. Here’s the best shot I got of the installation, which includes a crop circle hanging from the ceiling:
The Cai Guo-Qiang "Sky Ladder" exhibition is open at MOCA (through July 30) and includes three gunpowder paintings, a crop circle installation, and videos of the various detonations. You can also see the scorch marks from the explosion event on the side of the building.