Chaos Germinates Art: Cai Guo-Qiang

Cai Guo Qiang was born in Quanzhou, Fujian Province of China in the year 1957. Cai Guo-Qiang gained an exposure to Traditional Chinese art forms and Western literature as an effect of his father’s job, who was a traditional painter and a calligrapher, and worked in a bookstore. Cai grew up in the period, which was under social tensions of the Cultural Revolution, as a teenager, Cai himself participated in the parades and various demonstrations. His memories and experiences of the various forms of explosions, such as fireworks of celebration and cannon balls, made a deep impact on his creative streak and imagination. Creating the artworks by gunpowder explosions became his signature style. It can be said that he was, in a way trying to depict the good and the bad ways in which gunpowder can be used, through his art.

“The Spring and Fall of a Small Town” and “Real Kung Fu of Shaolin” were the two martial art movies that Cai acted in the late teens and early twenties. Cai, fascinated by the effect of Western art forms and the modernity of it, enrolled into the Shanghai Theatre Academy to study stage design from 1981 to 1985. The knowledge he acquired from this gave him an understanding of the various elements and practices of the stage as well as a sense of teamwork, spatial arrangements and the importance of interactivity.

Apart from the experimentation and use of gunpowder to create his artworks, Cai worked with stick-figure as well as abstract patterns with oil during the period of the New wave of 1985, after which Cai moved to Japan when the movement gained momentum during 1986.

Artwork

The theme and the subject of Cai Guo Quiang’s works draw from an array of various traditions, mainly the eastern tradition; symbols, narratives and things such as science, Chinese medicines, plants and animals, fengshui, shanshui paintings, portraiture and most importantly, fireworks. Cai draws the content of his art from the contemporary social issues, eastern philosophy and from the Maoist sentiments, that are depicted with the help of gunpowder drawings that portrays the tenet of Mao Zedong “destroy nothing, create nothing.”

When Cai has to work on a specific site, he often alludes to the history and the culture of that specific region or place where the work is to be presented. Cai, in the context of the history of Chinese contemporary art has a “”critically” important role, since he was among the first few artists who contributed by initiating the discussion of the Chinese art.

“Projects for Extraterrestrials”

With the advent of the 90s, Cai started the “Projects for Extraterrestrials”. Cai worked on the project using humongous trails and rows of flaring gunpowder spanning over huge surfaces and landscapes. These projects have been usually site-specific and were performed in various countries and locations across the world. As the name, “Project to Extend the Great Wall of China by 10,000 Meters: Project for Extraterrestrials No. 10” (1993) indicates, the project involved the use of 6 miles long fuse of gunpowder, which was stretched afar the western end of the Great Wall whence the Gobi Desert started. After ignition of the fuse it burned for 15 minutes, which created a pattern akin to a dragon, which is the symbol of ancient mythological and imperial heritage of China. The inspiration behind the title of the series’ roots from Cai’s belief in the creation of beauty and joy with the help of a earthly conflict, such as the “material fuel” to gain a higher perspective through the celebration of pure energy.

Gunpowder works

Cai wanted to break the monotony of the social climate, as well as the traditional artistic practices in China, which were more controlled and suppressed expressions of art, this he achieved with the help of gunpowder to generate spontaneity. During his stay in Japan from 1986 to 1995, Cai extensively experimented the properties of gunpowder in his artworks, which eventually prepped him to explore massive explosives and the inception of the “explosion events”. As a result of an artistic exchange between the United States and the Asian countries, promoted by an international organization called the Asian Cultural Council based in New York, Cai moved to New York in 1995.

Successful Performing Artist – The 20 Things you Need to Know

As a “performing artist”, you want to come across to your audience and other music business professionals as being reliable, and professional in your work.

To do this, it is important to maintain a business ATTITUDE throughout all your stage shows, and when communicating with venue owners and staff.

1. Where possible, issue written contracts or letters of agreement in advance. Check with your employer or agent the week before the show, to make sure no details have changed.

2. If you are booked to play at a venue that you’ve not been to before, try and visit on another band night before your gig. This will enable you to check access for the equipment; where the stage or playing area is located; where to position your mixing desk and speakers; whether your cables need to be flown over fire exits; what volume levels are tolerated, and what kinds of music the regulars enjoy most.

3. Always arrive at the venue in plenty of time to complete a full soundcheck BEFORE the public arrive.

4. Always carry spares of things like fuses, cables, backing tracks, strings, or any other small item that could mean the difference between doing the gig or not.

5. Always take along an extra long mains cable in case the nearest socket is broken.

6. Safety first! – Buy yourself a mains power polarity checker (such as a “Martindale” Ring main tester) and a set of circuit breakers for all your backline amps. No matter how badly your guitarist played tonight, he didn’t deserve to die!

7. Always create a “set list” for every show. This can be tailored to the type of audience that you now know frequent this venue (See tip no. 2). If you have rehearsed well, you will know exactly how long your set will last. Don’t go on stage late and overrun your contracted time. The venue owner’s license will depend on all music ceasing at a certain time. You don’t want to be the one who gets the venue closed down!

8. Play your set without long gaps between songs. Only communicate to the audience what REALLY needs to be said. A slick presentation and tight performance shows how well rehearsed you are, and keeps your audience on the dance floor.

9. Rehearse a polished entrance and exit. There is nothing more unprofessional than a bunch of musicians meandering onto a stage carrying the remains of a sandwich or pint, then spending several minutes chatting to each other, tuning up, playing along with the record on the disco, jamming, smoking, adjusting their clothing, answering a call on their mobile…. The list goes on! Believe me, I’ve seen it all!
Use the dressing room to apply your stage clothes and make-up. Wait for your performance to be announced, then march briskly onto the stage and launch straight into your first number. At the end of your performance, the reverse should be observed. Don’t hang around trying to encourage the audience to shout for an encore. Leave the stage as quickly as possible and wait in your dressing room to hear whether the audience want more.

10. Never be seen on stage in the same clothes as you were wearing in the soundcheck, or whilst mingling with the crowd.

11. If you are hiring a PA system, take your own can of telephone cleaner/sanitizer. Rented microphones are rarely cleaned!

12. Rehearse in your own time, not in the soundcheck!

13. Practice, the show thoroughly, but always leave a “breathing space” of a few days between the last rehearsal and the gig. Over-familiarity can make you complacent.

14. Always be pleasant and business-like when dealing with staff at the venue. Especially with the person who is paying you! Don’t automatically expect gratuities such as free food and drink. These are bonuses unless stipulated in your contract, where they then become part of your “fee”.

15. Respect the venue’s fixtures and fittings. Don’t damage their furniture or wall coverings with your speakers and gaffa tape. Ask permission first! They will often be glad to fetch you some beer crates to stack your speakers on, rather than using their tables.

16. Don’t get drunk, or high on illegal substances before, or during, the show.

17. Don’t hang around the venue for longer than is necessary after the show.

18. Don’t stop playing a number whenever a small problem occurs. Never re-start a number if someone in your band makes a mistake. You should be sufficiently well rehearsed for these mistakes to go unnoticed by your audience.

19. Don’t play any louder than you absolutely need to. Not everyone in an average venue will be there to listen to you. Don’t try to fill the whole venue with loud music. Just the area or dancefloor immediately in front of the stage will do! People will want to be able to hold a conversation in other areas, such as at the bar.

20. If you know you have a good mix and a member of the audience wants you to turn down. Pretend to turn a knob in order to please. The chances are, he just doesn’t like that particular song. On the other hand, if the venue owner or bar staff tell you to turn down … DO IT!! They know when it is too loud, after all, they are there every night!

Finally… Your bonus tip No. 21. If you have released CDs. Make sure they are on sale at every gig you do. Employ a friend, or one of your fans to set up a table with your merchandise. It is also a good excuse to get new people to sign up to your mailing list. After the show, you can even go out front and sign a few autographs!

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Things to Look Out for When Choosing the Ideal Tap Dance Syllabus

Tap dance is fun to watch and more enjoyable when you are able to perform it. There are also some health benefits that are associated with those that choose to engage in it. It increases the strength, coordination, flexibility, as well as cardiovascular conditioning. This is a dance that has to do with a lot of leg and foot movement and this improves the flexibility, especially in the ankles, the hips, and the knees. The cognitive abilities are also improved to a great extent since it requires one to have muscle and mental memory.

Anyone engaging in this dance need to have a great sense of rhythm and timing. There is a need to incorporate the stress and the combinations as they focus on the music. This is a dance that can be done alone and without a partner and still be enjoyed. It is therefore important to choose a program that will help you start well.

The level

This dance is not only for the kids. This can be customized to suit all ages as well as fitness levels. This is to mean that all adults can also engage in the programs and enjoy the benefits. This means that when one is selecting a program, there is a need to check the age for which it is meant.

Manual

To be good, you need skills. Without guidance, one may have a hard time teaching or learning the movements. For a program to be the best, it needs to have a guide that is comprehensive and one that can be used for the steps, the rhythms, and the exercises. Having an instructional video makes it easier for the trainers and the learners to get correct combinations as they dance and also perfect them.

Music

You never complete any dance without some music. This is needed for the combinations and the steps. When you are choosing a program, it should have some tracks that accompany it. These need to be complete and have the correct tempos and styles that are suitable for the group they are designed for. Choosing music can be tricky and so it is necessary to have a program that includes everything, especially for new learners who do not know much about the strategies.

It does not really matter whether you want to learn to teach. Choosing the correct programs is very important. You need to settle for a program that has all the insights that are professional so as to perfect the dance.

There are things you need to consider when choosing a studio. You need to understand that choice can make all the difference. You need to make sure that you and/or your child get the greatest enjoyment as well as experience that come with such programs. Some of the best institutions take part in dance competitions. This means that anyone taking part will be able to get a competitive advantage. However, it should not be only about competitions because you may end up concentrating on a single dance but not really dancing. It is important to start with the highest quality learning before they can engage in any professional career.