The Birth of Tragedy

2020
Realized on the Charente River, Cognac, September 25, 3:10pm, 15 minutes
21,915 fireworks, 150 oak barrels
Commissioned by Hennessy X.O.

 

Teaser for The Birth of Tragedy
Video documentation. Directed by Shanshan Xia; produced by 33 Studio

The Birth of Tragedy was commissioned as part of “A World Odyssey,” which marks Hennessy X.O’s 150th anniversary. Cai’s daytime fireworks use exclusively non-toxic, eco-conscious, CE-certified pyrotechnic products.

Prelude

Photos by Tatsumi Masatoshi (1) and Wen-You Cai (3) courtesy Cai Studio
Photo by Francois Goize (4) courtesy Hennessy
Still from livestream (2) courtesy Hennessy

Prelude: The Seduction of Lavender

Photos by Tang Hua Fireworks (1) courtesy Cai Studio
Still from livestream (2) courtesy Hennessy

Act I: A Poem—Drinking with the Moon

Photos by Tatsumi Masatoshi, courtesy Cai Studio

Act I: A Poem—Bring on the Wine

Photos by Tang Hua Fireworks (1) and Wen-You Cai (2) courtesy Cai Studio
Photo by Canhuang Cai (3), courtesy Cai Studio: Lulu Zhang, Studio Manager, reading the poem “Bring on the Wine”

 

 

Act II: A Scroll of Calligraphy—Black Cursive Script

Photos by Tang Hua Fireworks (1, 2), Tatsumi Masatoshi (3, 4), and Wen-You Cai (5) courtesy Cai Studio

 

 

Act II: A Scroll of Calligraphy—White Cursive Script

Photos by Tang Hua Fireworks (1), Tatsumi Masatoshi (2), and Wen-You Cai (3) courtesy Cai Studio
Photo by Francois Goize (4) courtesy Hennessy

 

 

Act III: A Drama—The God of Wine

Photo by Tatsumi Masatoshi (1) courtesy Cai Studio
Still from livestream (2) courtesy Hennessy

 

 

Act III: A Drama—La Bacchanale

Photo by Tang Hua Fireworks (2, 7, 8), Tatsumi Masatoshi (3, 10), and Wen-You Cai (9) courtesy Cai Studio
Still from livestream (1, 4, 5) courtesy Hennessy
Additional image from Instagram user @le_coincoin (6)