Everything is connected Part 8

18 okt

Yesterday we ended up in China with a giant firework stairway to heaven. According to Tate Modern ‘Ways of Looking’ I could connect the work via the ‘Personal Approach – what do I bring?’ It says: All responses to works of art are conditioned by our different personal and social experiences. These cannot be ignored and should be our starting point when thinking about an artwork.

If I try to connect the work with myself and I ask myself ‘What does the work remind me of?’ one answer would be my ‘Supersafe and Cheap Fireworks Package’. But this would not fit the concept. Why not? Because I never sold the idea and I don’t think it’s art. So it’s not Part 8 but I’ll share it anyway.

Sometimes you do crazy things when you’re young. Especially if you’re keen on an idea that you think might well sell very well. Every two years I went to IAAPA, the International Fair for theme parks. Halls packed with the very latest in roller coasters, carousels, game boxes, fairground rides and so. Every year I came back with a box of leaflets and one year I brought fireworks glasses.


No to protect my eyes. No. They were so-called spectrum glasses. If you put them on and looked at lights in the dark, you saw beautiful colors around the lights. Really amazing. Yes you have to see yourself to be excited. I get it.fireworkglasseseffect

You have to know I have nothing personal with fireworks, so I came up with the following, super safe and cheap fireworks package:

– 1 fireworks glasses

– 1 sparkler


– Packed in an air bubble envelope



The idea worked as follows. On New Years Eve you go outside, light your sparkler, put on the firework glasses and start dancing on the air bubble envelope. The air bubble envelope might not make as much noise as the strikers of your neighbor but with your fireworks glasses looking at your burning sparkler is nothing less than spectacular. And they were safe and far less painful to your wallet.

This was a blast. Yes I knew for sure. We had only just to sell it.

We had to make appointments. Make sure that potential clients were able to experience it. My partner in crime Ron Vergeer wrote a great letter to 14 insurance companies and telecom companies. Ron had made them so curious that we scored 10 appointments.

This was a blast. Yes I knew for sure. We had only just to sell it.

We had been years in the latest technology. Radio controlled cars, chroma key virtual reality systems, Japanese sticker machines etc. Could a pair of paper glasses be our breakthrough?

This was a blast. Yes I knew for sure. We had only just to sell it.

And how to sell it? Simple. It is an idea for New Years Eve so with New Years Eve. With fireworks, champagne and  dutch donuts. In April we drove across the Netherlands with a big dish with, by Ron’s mother baked, dutch donuts, a few bottles of  Jip and Janneke champagne, champagne glasses, sparklers and of course the fireworks glasses. We sat at the table with the communication bosses of some of the largest advertisers in the Netherlands. (Yes even with Nationale Nederlanden Daniel)

After a short intro, I turned of the lights. Ron pulled the dish packed with dutch donuts from the plastic bag, put them on the table and sprinkled them with powdered sugar. I put on their fireworks glasses. Ron wrapped the foil from the bottle. I lit the sparklers and began to count.

10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 ……

With each count their mouths opened wider and wider. Quite easy to put a donut in.

Plop. The champagne flowed. The sparklers burned. The donuts tasted fantastic … .in april.

This was a blast. Yes I knew for sure. We had only just to sell it.

In 2000 a deadly firework exploded in a fireworks depot in a residential area in Enschede in the Netherlands. With one Bang it was done with our Blast. There was no brand in the Netherlands who wanted something to do with fireworks. Not even with the “safest fireworks package in the world” like I tried to explain.

The Failed Firework Glasses Project  is what New York based Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang Stairway reminds me of . But it’s not art. So part 8 is another connection. His name is Stefan Sagmeister. And he also sometimes says things by setting things on fire. The following stills are from his great TED talk and part of quote from his diary:

Fire is what connects Cai Guo-Qiang and Stefan Sagmeister. Fire as fuel for personal development.


2 Responses to “Everything is connected Part 8”

  1. Folkert Kattemölle 19 oktober 2016 at 10:47 AM #

    Mooie gast die Stefan!


  1. Everything is connected Part 9 | Design Thinking by Doing - 19 oktober 2016

    […] Yesterday fire connected New York based artists Cai Guo-Qiang and Stefan Sagmeister. […]

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