London’s Burning

This week marks the arrival of the London Burning’s festival. Set to commemorate the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London, the festival will run between the 30th and 4th of September.

Commissioned by the Artichoke Festival in order to explore the ways in which the Great Fire of London impacted the city and its history, London’s Burning offers visitors the chance to glimpse London alight through the perspective of contemporary artists, writers and thinkers. The entirely free festival includes a night-time fire food market in Guildhall Yard and activities such as object handling, Minecraft and storytelling at the Museum of London.

Possibly the most anticipated part of the festival is the centerpiece of the events, dubbed “Watch it burn” which is scheduled for the 4th of September. The artist Martin Firrell has developed a novel artistic idea to mark the occasion; a model of London’s 17th century skyline will be constructed on the Thames and set alight.

In addition to the sculpture, the festival will see the projection of flames across a select few of the city’s most famous landmarks. In a remarkable feature, St. Paul’s will appear as though it is alight, with flickering flames showing on its world famous dome. A similar effect will be applied to the National Theatre. Firrell’s work is designed to showcase the ways people and places can overcome challenges that have been presented to them, just as the Great Fire of London drove a rebirth of the parts that were destroyed.

Other highly anticipated parts of the festival include free entry to The Monument and the transformation of the front garden of the Tate Modern into a Fire Garden. The Fire Garden has been organised by one of France’s most famous street art groups, Compagnie Carabosse, who are firm advocates of public spaces and streets remaining open to everyone.

The festival will conclude on the 4th of September, and more details about the events can be found here:

Contributor: Daisy Reece

September 1, 2016