The Colosseum is the latest monument to feature in the work of two international video installation artists. After four years of planning and negotiating with city authorities, Thyra Hilden from Denmark and Pio Diaz from Argentina are to stage a virtual-reality fire in the Colosseum on the evening of 16 September at 19.30, with repeat performances on 17 and 19 September at the same time.
Part of their City on Fire project, with the subtitle Burning the Roots of Western Culture, the event is backed by Italy's cultural heritage ministry and Rome's department of archaeological heritage. With the help of modern technology, the artistic duo have performed similar site-specific installations in many of Europe's prized cultural landmarks, from Berlin to Paris. Drawing mixed reactions from the public, the aim of the artists is to create a dialogue on the fragility and transience of man-made structures.
The artists have described the Colosseum as the most challenging location to date. With flames expected to be visible from the opposite end of Via dei Fori Imperiali, the amphitheatre promises to be one of their most dramatic venues too.