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Building a future from the past with London 1666

London 1666 examined history and made it a modern day story.

LONDON’S BURNING was Artichoke’s festival to mark the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London. Taking place in landmark locations across the city, the programme included an underwater performance-artwork at Broadgate; a domino-like sculpture that snaked through the city’s streets tracing the multiple paths of the fire; and a spectacular riverside finale - LONDON 1666.

A collaboration between American artist David Best and Artichoke, LONDON 1666 was a once-in-a-lifetime event. Built with a major learning and participation programme that engaged hundreds of young Londoners over the course of several months, an extraordinary 120-metre long sculpture of 17th-century London skyline appeared on the river Thames and was set alight, in a dramatic retelling of the story of the Great Fire of London of September 1666.

Burn artist David Best and two young people working on the construction of the burn model. Hammering a nail into a block of wood

The Space commissioned Artichoke to produce a live stream of this landmark event, which was broadcast live online on Sunday 4th September. Viewers watched as the event unfolded on the River Thames, enjoying commentary from key guests and a series of short films revealing the stories behind the project.

As the burn progressed, audiences were invited to contemplate the lasting impact the Fire had on the architecture, outlook and infrastructure of the City including some of its most iconic buildings and landmarks and thousands engaged with the action via social media using #LondonsBurning.

Wooden model of 1666 London on a barge in the ThamesTemple, David Best in collaboration with Artichoke. Part of London's Burning, a festival of arts and ideas for Great Fire 350. Photo by Oliver Rudskin.

 Watch the barge taking its position on the Thames...

For more on London 1666 read our case study Artichoke's London 1666 - the story of an artwork that went viral

Watch the events unfold

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