Signal Festival celebrates 10 years with two routes of light art

Czech artist Maxim Velčovský responds to the war in Ukraine, and videomapping returns to náměstí Míru.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 05.09.2022 18:08:00 (updated on 05.09.2022) Reading time: 3 minutes

The Signal Festival of light art celebrates 10 years with festival routes in Prague’s city center as well as through Vinohrady and Vršovice neighborhoods. The festival takes place Oct. 13–16, though some installations will be up longer.

Nine of the installations on the two routes can be seen for free, while six require tickets. This year for the first time there are also VIP tickets that allow early access and the ability to skip waiting in lines.

Maxim Velčovský's installation at  Mariánské náměstí. Photo: Signal.
Maxim Velčovský's installation at Mariánské náměstí. Photo: Signal.

In the free section, people can see a new work by Czech designer Maxim Velčovský. He responds to the war in Ukraine with an installation near City Hall on Mariánské náměstí called “The Physical Possibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living.” It consists of burnt-out cars from war-affected areas.

They are accompanied by stories of Ukrainian citizens who often lost more than just their cars. The project is created in cooperation with the Embassy of Ukraine in Prague.

"Quadd" at the plaza of National Theatre. Photo: Signal.

Something that is sure to also attract crowds is a laser projection called “Quadd,” which will take place at the plaza of the National Theatre. It is based on exploring the concept of the number four.

The most popular exhibits in the past have been videomappings. This year one can be found on the Vinohrady and Vršovice route at the Church of St. Ludmila at náměstí Míru. “Iris” by the visual collective AV Extended will be accompanied by the music from Czech producer Aid Kid.

"Creaturae" at the Church of St. Wenceslas. Photo: Signal.

Another large projection on the same route is “Creaturae.” It will be at a location new to the festival, St. Wenceslas Church at náměstí Svatopluka Čecha. This will use light reflected from spherical mirrors to create patterns on the church facade.

One of the most popular exhibits from the past returns to Vršovice Castle on Moskevská Street. “Cloud” by Canadian artists Caitlind Brown and Wayne Garrett has 6,000 light bulbs that people can turn on and off one at a time. It was the hit of the first festival in 2013.

"Cloud" by Caitlind Brown and Wayne Garrett. Photo: Signal.

The ticketed part of the festival features an installation by Refik Anadol, an international star in new media. He pioneered blending art and artificial intelligence. His festival work uses continuously updated urban data to create a 3D model that people can immerse themselves in. It will be at the Prague Institute of Planning and Development’s CAMP venue until Nov. 6, 2022.

“Refik Anadol is one of the world's most sought-after digital artists today. We are very lucky to have known each other for many years. He has followed Signal Festival from afar, but this year he has created a tailor-made installation for us,” Signal Festival director Martin Pošta said.

Refik Anadol and his installation. Photo: Signal.
Refik Anadol and his installation. Photo: Signal.

Another paid installation is at the new Kunsthalle Praha in Malá Strana. Czech artist Ondřej Zunka uses an immersive hyperrealistic aesthetic. His work “Photosystem II” takes a look at the secrets of photosynthesis. The work will be on display until Nov. 21.

A theater and dance collaboration called “LUNAtic” will take place in the Kateřinská Garden on the grounds of the General University Hospital (VFN), near Karlovo náměstí. This marks the first major collaboration between the festival and the National Theatre’s Laterna Magika.

"LUNAtic" at Kateřinská Garden. Photo: Signal.

“LUNAtic” is directed by choreographer, and performer Miřenka Čechová, who was inspired by the work of French surrealist poet Joyce Mansour and Czech surrealist poet Jana (Honza) Krejcarová.

The accompanying program includes a series of multimedia performances at the Planetarium Prague and a joint exhibition by Michal Škapa and Michal Cimala at the Bethlehem Chapel Gallery. Since the festival started, it has been visited by over 3 million people. For more information, visit the festival website.

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