Beijing Olympic Opening and Closing Ceremonies
Games of the XXIX Olympiad
August 8, 2008
Member of the Core Creative Team
Chief Designer of Visual And Special Effects
Thoughts on the Olympic experience after working three years as a member of the core creative team, and chief designer of visual and special effects for the Beijing Olympics and Paralympics opening and closing ceremonies:
It's been a few months since the Olympics came and went with a bang. Now the dust has settled, some thoughts are emerging with various degrees of clarity. Every week my feelings about it change. A full range of emotions were felt, without logic or order: elation, pride, anger, pain, sadness, shame, happiness, emptiness, reward, satisfaction, pensiveness...Now, my days are much quieter, simpler and spent alone. It's perfect to allow thoughts surface, to allow the person that I've become surface.
Now I start to understand the saying that Olympics is a "life defining experience." Not so much of what it teaches you, because you can learn how to put on a big spectacle, team work collaboration, grand scale orchestration in many ways, and none of them have to be this difficult. But the hardship of the process provided an opportunity, if you allow it to be, to cultivate and shape your spirit and soul in a way that leave lasting marks. You learn about what kind of person you want to be, or not want to be. Both are equally important.
This experience has also provided a slew of subjects that deserves further exploration: how can our unique concept on space and time be extended into today's life and art? Can age-old philosophies direct high technology into new domains? What can we, as a people as well as individuals, contribute to art and civilization today?
But perhaps most importantly, Olympics is behind us, and is in our past. Having this in our past will give us a more confident future. This confidence cannot be underestimated in the collective psychological landscape of the Chinese people. With it, looking forward, we will hopefully not bet our national pride on a sports event, our worth on the judgement of people who do not live in our land, nor draw an equation mark between patriotism and notions of nationalistic revenge. Allow our faults and brilliance, failures and successes, to accompany us on this journey of growth.
–Jennifer Wen Ma