INVINCIBLE / 17th - 19th Sep 2015 Coliseum/Rome

UNESCO General Directrice Irina Bokova has accepted the patronage of the project INVINCIBLE  

UNESCO proclaimed 2015 as the International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies in order to highlight the key role of light in science and culture. Light is a basic condition for life – for humans, animals, plants and microorganisms. In her project Invincible, Sabine Kacunko reflects the light-conditioned origins and transformations of life by using innovative technology to spotlight the nature of bacteria in the context of the World´s heritage and health.

The Coliseum is well known, its the largest amphitheatre in the world and an iconic symbol of the ancient and present Rome – the eternal city. As the world-wide icon of cultural heritage, it will be illuminated by a huge light-installation projecting live the bacterial biofilm (patina) on its most exposed northwest side.

This recently restored spot of ca. 1.400 m2 carefully takes into account daylight and season´s light situations as well as the topography and traffic conditions. Together, they all allow a whole-time illumination of the chosen spot which can be seen from Via Imperiale all the way along to Piazza Venetia.


Technical details

A sample of patina – the natural organic film – will be removed from the surface of the building and placed under a microscope. The connected projectors transmit the images, preferably in real time, on the extern surface of the object from which the patina has been removed.

For a moment the ‘secret’ microcosm of the patina emerges from the darkness into the light. The metabolism of the microorganisms produces substances of sediments – pigments – that create intense compositions of constantly changing and different lights and colours. The illuminated object becomes a ‘Living Light Sculpture’. In this way the patina in the dark appears as what it really is: a colourful world of pigments arising from the sediments of the microorganisms. The simultaneous multimedia presentation of microcosm and macrocosm creates on the surfaces parallel worlds that usually remain hidden in daily life. The quintessence of invincible is the celebration of life and its basic condition: transformation or metamorphosis.

The illumination happens not only on a conceptual and visual level (illumination of a public building through live video projections) but also on that material by integrating and visualising the microorganisms that equip the essential artistic instrument with a model of communication and social forms that are intelligent and capable to survive. The microorganisms protect the monumental good from destruction being evoked by the harmful environmental influences and secure in this way the transmission of our cultural memory. The project invincible stands as an example of lasting global cooperation in the conservation of cultural assets and natural resources. It intends to shed light on the processes of democratization, the concepts of sustainability as well as the ecological and economical structures investigating the complex relation between man and nature is presented to the local audience – and to world via Internet – through the both media- and dance performance.

Further Contents and Backgrounds

INVINCIBLE  takes one famous and one rather infamous work by the Roman poet Ovid as points of both departure and return: The first one is poem Remedia Amoris (Love’s Remedy or The Cure for Love), the second one is the Metamorphosis. At the same time, invincible is a Homage a´ Girolamo Fracastoro (1478 or 1483 – 1553), the Italian physician and humanist and a pioneer in bacteriology, clinical epidemiology and modern pathology.As a result of Fracastoro´s knowledge, acquired through a profound study of the process of infection, he contradicted the humoral miasmic theory of disease, which was common in those days. His intense study of epidemic diseases led to his On Contagion and Contagious Diseases (1546), the first scientific statement of the true nature of contagion, infection, disease germs, and modes of disease transmission. It stated that each disease is caused by a different type of rapidly multiplying minute body, transmitted by direct contact, by carriers such as soiled clothing or through the air. Girolamo Fracastoro anticipated the existence of microbes and is thus celebrated as pioneer of modern microbiological research. Widely praised in his time, Fracastoro’s theory, soon became obscured by the mystical doctrines of Paracelsus, fell into general disrepute until Filippo Pacini, Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch proved it 300 years later.

As the world-wide icon of cultural heritage, it will be illuminated by a huge light-installation projecting (ca. 1.400 m2 ) live the bacterial biofilm (patina) on its most exposed northwest side.

Sabine Kacunko, Invincible – A Big Bacteria Project. The projection surface on the façade of the Coliseum becomes a time window in which macrocosm and microcosm enter

A special thanks to our friends and co-workers who have cooperated with us to the achievement of this project: