The seventh edition of the Signal Festival will take place in Prague on October 10–13. Lighting and site-specific installations, along with video mappings, will be on three routes through Malá Strana, Old Town and Karlín. New this year, the map in the festival smartphone app will be free of charge.
The festival’s theme is revolution. “Thirty years after the Velvet Revolution, we decided to reflect on what the word ‘revolution’ means today. It’s not just a look into the past for us. We perceive it as a perspective for the future and as a change, improvement or radical transformation, either as a whole or as an individual,” program manager Matěj Vlašánek said.
Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib said the topic was not just something from history. “The festival’s typical play of lights and shadows on a symbolic level reminds us of the constant struggle between truth and misinformation. This is a theme that resonated in society during the Velvet Revolution 30 years ago and still resonates today. Therefore, I wish that the organizers and festival visitors do not lose their orientation and always find the right light,” he said.
The festival itself has also undergone a revolution since its inception, according to festival director Martin Pošta. “From a show of video mapping and light design, we grew into a respected festival of digital art and creative culture, and one of the largest events in the Czech Republic. We regularly confront hundreds of thousands of people with art in public spaces,” he said.
“With each new year we introduce new places, procedures and cooperation. Our goal is not only the presentation of installations, but also a strong artistic experience and performance, and support of contemporary artists and social themes,” Pošta said.
Signal Festival 2019 will offer 18 installations, split evenly between Czech and foreign authors. A dozen will be located at new locations such as Invalidovna and the Transport Ministry. A festival pass, for sale in advance as well as during the festival, is required to access the six installations that are part of the Gallery Zone and a 3D videomapping. A live audiovisual show also requires a ticket. The other locations are free.
The opening ceremony will take place October 10 at 7 pm on Smetanovo nábřeží with the largest installation in the festival’s history. “Intensive reflections on modernity” by artist Jakub Pešek will cover 180,000 cubic meters with lasers between the embankment and Střelecký ostrov.
Videomappings are among the most popular stops. Two will be in Karlín: “Space & Possibilities” by Turkey’s Nohlab at Karlínské náměstí and “Ottantanove” by Italy’s Illo studio at Lyčkovo náměstí. This year’s 3D videomapping —“R•Evolution” by Ukrainian studio Skilz — is at Tyršův dům in Malá Strana. For the first time in the festival’s history, there is no videomapping at náměstí Míru.
Two other projections are also in the program. “Simbio,” by Slovak artist Andrej Boleslavský at Zahrada Artiséme, explores the boundaries between human technology and nature. “The Wall” by Czech studio Oficina is an interactive piece at Park Lannova. It is inspired by walls being a place for protest.
Also playing on the revolution theme is “Trabi,” an audiovisual installation at Petřín with 10 Trabant cars and recorded reflections on 1989. It is presented by Czech NGO Post Bellum with support from the German Embassy.
“10^100” by German group Giegling, in Nosticova zahrada, will mark the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus artistic movement and 10 years of the group’s existence.
Czech artists Adam Cigler and Petr Vacek present “Reflexe” at St Agnes Cloister (Kláštěr sv. Anežky České), which is described as a sci-fi object that absorbs and connects its viewers.
The kinetic site-specific installation “God’s Mills,” by Pavel Korbička, is a space-time triangle defined by three historical Karlín factory chimneys in the courtyard of Karlínské náměstí 4 and Pernerova 55.
“Jacob’s Wall” by American artist Parker Heyl explores hyper-realism at Kaizlovy sady. The artist says the fast approaching future is a world where there is the progressive marginalization of the meaning of real subjects in favor of glorifying their weaker virtual copies.
Places in the paid Gallery Zone are “Simple Harmonic Motion for Lights” at the Czech Museum of Music, “And what if it was true” at Vojanovy Sady, “Multiverse .pan” at the Mirror Chapel of the Klementinum, “Ghost in the Machine” at the Transport Ministry, “a.r.r.c” at Kooperativa in Main Point Karlín, and “I’m Leaving the Body” at Invalidovna.
World-renowned Czech architect Eva Jiřičná and AI-Design studio’s “And what if it was true” is a luminous meteorite that is intended to encourage self-reflection and revolution on a personal level.
“I’m Leaving the Body” is by the Big Light Global Initiative, which invited Czech-Argentine artist Federico Díaz and others to present Baroque objects in a new context with incense, lasers, and sounds.
A separate admission, not included with the festival pass, is required for an audiovisual performance in the Church of the Holy Savior (Kostel U Salvátora). “Signal Soundscape: Inner Land Study I.” uses lights, smoke, and organ music to explore existential questions.
There is also a children’s program called Signal Kids and an accompanying program with guided walks in Czech and discussion panels.