Trajan's Markets Hemicycle and Aula, the Gate of San Sebastian in the old Roman walls, the Criptoportico (secret passage) of Nero - stone witnesses to a bygone culture in Rome, that today need to be preserved. At the dawn of the new millennium, these two thousand year old sites became a stage and a backdrop for a Solar art installation by Peter Erskine. Erskine uses prisms and mirrors to spread white Sunlight into the colors of the Spolar Spectrum. He floods Roman arches and columns with rainbows. Changing with the hours and seasons, the art is different every day of the year. The rays of the Sun, the origin of all life, and monuments to human creativity, unite to form a living work of art in which visitors themselves become creators and participants. We see ancient Rome in a new light. NEW LIGHT ON ROME 2000 uses high technology prisms to cerate art with low impact on the environment. Fossil fuel emissions are damaging momuments and creating unhealthy air pollution all over Rome. Globallly fossil fuels are a major cause of climate change and loss of biodiversity. Solar panels use the power of the Sun to generate non-polluting electricity. Solar energy can play a major role in solving environmental problems. For seven months, from June through December 2000, the treasured sites of NEW LIGHT ON ROME 2000 became monuments to past AND future ages.

NEW LIGHT ON ROME recalls Solar living in ancient Rome where people lived in close harmony with nature. Pliny the younger, in his letter to Gallus, describes how Sunlight, sound, wind and water are the most important components for defining architectural spaces. Erskine uses these natural elements in his art.
In the Hemicycle of Trajan's Markets, visitors can see the spectrum light vibrating in the wind that sweeps down the colonnade. The windows in Porta di San Sebastiano and in the hemicycle and Aula were designed so that the Sun's heat and light would not enter these buildings at noon in June and July, but would do so during the spring, autumn and winter, creating a natural air-conditioning and heating sustem. Because of this ancient Solar design, the Aula, Hemicycle and Prota di San Sebastiano are without spectrum light from 10:30 to 2:30 PM in June and July. On the other hand, the underground Criptoprotico of Nero and the House of the Knights of Rhodes are cool and radiant at summer noon.
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