In its second year, the SIGNAL Festival is transforming Prague into an immersive visual art gallery with installations by teams of light designers, architects, engineers and hackers.
The spectacular three-day celebration is fast becoming the Czech Republic’s most well-attended cultural event.
The festival, founded by Martin Posta, aims to revive both well-known and hidden, mysterious places throughout the city while celebrating an emergence of creativity driven by innovative technology. “I personally love the contrast of the new technology and the beauty of the magical and classical Prague,” Posta is quoted as saying. “It is some form of symbiosis in contrast and it works amazingly well.”
Posta, who partnered with Amar Mulabegović of video mapping team The Macula, says that SIGNAL was conceptualized while the artists were on a business trip. “It crossed our minds that it would be cool to pull off something crazy, such as a huge open city light festival,” Posta explains. The thought came after he joined The Macula to design a video mapping project for the 600th anniversary of the Prague clock tower, an event that captured global attention.
While video mapping projections—such as Maxin10sity’s hypnotizing show on Kinsky Palace—tend to steal the show due to their scale and use of some of Prague’s most prestigious landmarks, SIGNAL offers a broad spectrum of light experimentation, from performances to interactive pieces that guests can touch and manipulate. Cyclique, a kinetic installation by Maxime Houot and Nohista of Collectif Coin, used 256 helium-filled balloons lit by LEDs to create a magical light show. Posta notes that he was “pleasantly surprised” by a piece called Zona by Petr Nikl & David Vrbík, which mixed an impish performance by Nikl (who donned a huge light-up dunce hat) with a reflective pool that the audience could play with. Ultimately, Posta says, “We are seeking beauty, innovative use of technology in art and extreme creativity.”
With visitor numbers already exceeding last year’s attendance and with the event drawing to a close, big plans are afoot for 2015. As well as the festival, SIGNAL will be transporting ten installations throughout the country as part of a tour called Czech the Light, and will be presenting a new series of art pieces in Pilsen as part of the European Capital of Culture project in February of 2015. Most exciting is Posta’s plan to establish the SIGNAL Lab, an institution for developing new interdisciplinary projects. “We will be expanding,” Posta says. “A bright future awaits us.”