China Millennium Event
BEIJING – THE MILLENNIUM EVENT
CHINA MILLENNIUM MONUMENT, DECEMBER 31ST 2000
Art Director, Light & Pyro Design Gert Hof
Event General Management & Production Asteris Koutoulas
Produced by Beijing Gehua Cultural Development Co., Beijing Television, Shanghai Eastern Television, Art in Heaven GmbH & Asteris Koutoulas for the Chinese Government
Executive Producer Tim Dowdall
Technical Director Gerd Helinski
Programming & Operator Stephan Aue
Space Cannon Light Equipment Procon MultiMedia AG
Light, Laser & Neon Equipment Gehua Beijing
Pyro & Fireworks Ikebun Co. Ltd. Japan
Local assistance LogistiX
To us, China was a foreign world, and we were a foreign world to China. The Chinese experience was that of a "positive nightmare". Our Chinese partners had to learn to overcome their yes-to-everything attitude, we our stubborn negativity. In the Chinese language "no" does not exist, and most high-level functionaries could not even fathom the idea of refusal. But China was on the verge of opening up, it wanted to get into the WTO and to stage the Summer Olympics 2008. Well, it has accomplished both. Our event was one of those "declarations of openness". Our collaboration was therefore similar to an arranged marriage, but I had the impression that the Chinese had to try a lot harder than us - which, in the end, they did, and I think they even did it gladly.
In China Gert suffered because he constantly had to adjust to changing circumstances. We often had to react quickly to new realities. It then paid off that Gert had managed to convey this pitiless yearning deep inside himself to his closest employees. I noticed that they possessed that little bit more than their usual professional motivation which enabled them to master such extreme situations as in China.
Klaus Schulze (the former member of Tangerine Dream) wrote the music for Gert's production. The Chinese delegates accepted the Schulze-Soundtrack without further ado. This was important to Gert because he kept an eye on his cooperation with the "official China", but I think he also acknowledged the complete artistic freedom he had been given and considered himself a living proof of the world's largest country's will to finally open up. After the Chinese event I realised that Gert had accomplished something that no-one had expected to work out and that had only existed in the back of his mind. The birth of an entirely new event from the spirit of light.
© Asteris Koutoulas
Dear Mr. Gert Hof,
My hearty congratulations on your Millennium mega-event in China! After your painstaking efforts, hard working, persistence and tolerance in our first cooperation, you finally made the greatest light show at the China Millennium Monument at the turning of the new century in Beijing. It was such a fantastic and wonderful experience for the Chinese people … We were grateful to you and your team for this significant present from Germany. This cultural exchange showed the interesting contrast and combination between mentality and culture, visual and spiritual aesthetics, exciting movement and graceful sentiment, individuality and popularity, warmest colours and mysterious blue light, loud music and still communication of heart and soul, traditional culture and modern technology. We greatly appreciate the concept and message you brought to the Chinese people and are looking forward to having more joy, peace, tolerance and communication in the Millennium.
Deputy Director, Gehua Cultural Development Group