Thyra Hilden & Pio Diaz
CITY ON FIRE burning the roots of western culture

Video installation of burning flames in the city of Rome
by Thyra Hilden and Pio Diaz
Supported by the Danish Art Council
and the Danish Institute in Rome

Review and texts:
* (DK) "BYEN BRÆNDER" Hot review in the Danish news 16/12: download pdf
* (UK) "WE DON'T NEED NO WATER" Reflection over CoF by Line Rosenvinge, MA in fine Art: download pdf
* (IT) Text and press kit in Italian: download pdf

EVENTS 2005:
Supperclub Rome, Fire and exhibition
Release 17th december 22.00 - 00.00
Exhibition 17th december - 1st january

Burning of the Danish Institute in Rome
29th december 18.00-20.00

Burning of the TREVI fountain
31th december, New years eve

Reserch more on:

See video presentation:
CITY ON FIRE - 1Mb QuickTime

New years eve 2005, burning of the TREVI fountain

Thyra Hilden (1972) graduated from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen 2002, represented in private collections and museums in Denmark and abroad, exhibitions at MADC Costa Rica, Gustav Gimm CPH, Gallery Concole Paris, P.I.P. Pinyao China and contributions to video compilations touring Europe. Represented in Denmark by Gallery Tom Christoffersen /

Pio Diaz (1974) curator, artist, conceptual producer and founder of New Exhibition Space in Gothersgade, Copenhagen 2003-04, focusing on political and social art. Recent projects for the International Biennial of Contemporary Art in Sharjah Dubai and City Rumble at Overgaden Institute for Contemporary Art /

29th december 18.00-20.00, burning of the Danish Institute in Rome

Thyra Hilden and Pio Diaz have been invited to Rome by the Danish Cultural Institute to produce the powerful monumental video installation CITY ON FIRE winter 2005-2006 – images of burning fire projected inside an archaic historical building in central Rome.

Beside these public events a row of smaller fires will be activated around the city of Rome, december 2005, to create a various fire documentation.
These burnings are the first steps ahead of larger scaled fire in 2006:

This world is on fire. Modern life and technological development wipe away our cultural roots and heritage. Throughout history, we have torn down to build up. Cultural evolution involves destruction. Damage and destruction can be fertile, like the Italian Futurists preached before they experienced the terror of World Wars. Fire is an obvious symbol for this ambiguous process. Fire is an irrational, uncontrollable destroying force or a warm embracing source. Fire is also a symbol of spiritual transcendence and personal transformation - or terrifying acts by man destroying life and civilization.

An inside projection of burning flames will make the impression that one of Rome´s historical and central buildings are on fire. The general public can experience the installations from the outside from near and far, through windows or the huge gaps between columns. Depending on the chosen building it may also be possible to enter the buildings and walk through the burning peristyle. This could be for invited visitors only.

CONTEXT – place and time
The selected buildings are chosen because they are essentially integrated in the architecture and history of Rome. The digital media – the video projection – will be in sharp contrast to these ancient monumental buildings that are all emblems of European legacy.

CITY ON FIRE will take place in winter 2005. And in full scale in winter 2006. The winter season provides optimal light situation for the video projection with a dark sky and Christmass and New Years Eve will assure attention. There will be a lot of people in the streets of Rome on this special occasion.

MOTIVATION – issues and reflections
CITY ON FIRE is a site specific monumental event reflecting essential and radical issues similar to the work of Christo and Jeanne-Claude. Rome burned down in the times of Cesar Nero from unclarified conflicts between the ruling Cesar, the Senate and the Christians. Similar ‘political fire' can lit at any times. CITY ON FIRE is not a political statement but an aesthetic event in the public arena drawing on many issues of our collective cultural conscience and legacy. On a more individual level, this installation of virtual fire will have a strong evocative effect on visitors and public. All movements, actions and sounds around and inside the building will remain unchanged. People will pass and talk like always and this will be in very high contrast to the visual drama of the installation. This contrast will create a surreal dialogue between fire/installation/public. Because the fire is fiction it provokes reflection. Will I go through fire? This scenario reflects how every human being in private unspoken silence has a fire to walk through. Do we see the fire burning or are we turning ignorant to the troubles around us? The big issue is whether we are strong and heroic creatures capable of creating and recreating all that which other forces may tear down.

The film: To assure an authentic impact several walls of 4x7 m has been burned and filmed in high resolution and frame rate. This was filmed by the Danish countryside and post production will edit this fire with other professionally filmed fires made for cinema edit. For the large scaled fires 2006 fourteen tracks will create a constant intensity, rhythm and flow of fire. It is also possible to work on details and special effects to give the impression that a wind blows through the building creating a wave of flames. The projection: Inside the building we need a projector, wires, DVD player and eventually a huge mirror to enlarge and reflect projections. This equipment is needed for every 10-15 m depending on the building and power of projectors. The projection will be in two levels with ten projectors on every level. If the peristyle is one level, we will only be in need of ten powerful projectors; further technical description will follow when the actual buildings are chosen. There will be a person for every two projectors to operate the equipment and answer questions from visitors. All equipment will of course be fully insured around the event.

All fires in 2005 are supported by the Dansih Arts Council and the Danish Institute in Rome.
Monumental fires in winter 2006 are still to be agreed with sponsors.

Contact: CITY ON FIRE, Thyra Hilden, Skt. Annaegade 37,
DK-1416 Copenhagen K, +45 40748400 , / /

Thanks to:
Line Rosenvinge / text and edit
Fabrizio Calabria / PR Rome

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