Prague Signal Festival looks into the future

Photo: ČTK/Vít Šimánek

The Signal Festival, now in its 6th year, kicks off in Prague on Thursday night. The three day light festival offers visitors over two dozen artistic light installations and video-mappings on three routes in Prague, at indoor and outdoor locations. I asked Jose Pinto, head of Signal’s operations and marketing, to tell me about this year’s highlights.

“There are several things I would mention, I think the main one is that we have substantially expanded our footprint in the city with the inclusion of the third route in Prague’s Karlin district. It connects well to our theme. As you know it was a relatively dilapidated area until recently and it has undergone a major revival – you have businesses being set up, you have cafes and galleries opening up - and that transformation of the city is very much connected with what we do, we transform the city.

'Erebus' by 3dsense in Karlín,  photo: ČTK/Vít Šimánek
“So I would say that in terms of highlights – all that we have in Karlin is really interesting, I would highlight an installation by the Rudolfinum by artist Jana Mercogliano, all the indoor installations in Clam-Gallas Palace, Colloredo-Mansfeld Palace, the Klementinum, I would also recommend the projection on Namestí míru, on the Church of St Ludmila, which is always a highlight and on the Karlin route I would strongly recommend the installation over the Church of Sts Cyril and Methodius and the 3 D projection we will have in Kasárna Karlin, which is an amazing space with a huge scale and it is definitely going to make an impression.”

What about the artists – there appear to be more Czech artists this year showing their work….

“We try to keep a good balance between both Czech and foreign artists and we also try to keep a balance between what can be considered purely technological art and other forms of art, for instance what we will have in Old Town Square by artist Lukáš Rittstein which is not technological in itself, in the Hauch Gallery we will have Swiss artist Zimoun with a technical installation that has nothing to do with technological art. We have new artists like Tomáš Dymeš who will be showing his work in front of the Palladium shopping centre …so we try to keep a balance, also because, given the theme this year, it would be important to reinforce that.”

And the theme we are talking about is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Czechoslovakia, right?

'Future Ruins' by Romain Tardy over the Church of Sts Cyril and Methodius in Karlín,  photo: ČTK/Vít Šimánek
“That’s true. And it makes sense, of course, that everybody is celebrating the anniversary, looking into the past and understanding what it teaches us, but our objective at Signal – since we want to be true to our mission – is to understand what the next 100 years are going to be about. The way we have looked at it is that the learnings of technological art, taking things and technologies and materials that we know and giving them a new usage, brings to mind what the future will look like, taking what we know, what we have experienced and finding new usages and new applications and out of the common, out of the banal, out of the everyday experience to build something new as artists and as citizens.”

Video-mapping on Kasárna Karlín by Hotaru Visual Guerrilla,  photo: ČTK/Vít Šimánek

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