Lights, magic, action: The 10th edition of Prague's Signal Festival starts today

The festival will present 15 light installations across Prague, as well as a special program in participating art galleries.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 12.10.2022 15:24:00 (updated on 12.10.2022) Reading time: 5 minutes

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As autumn nights grow longer, an upcoming event will light up the streets of Prague. After a four-year hiatus, the Signal Festival returns to Náměstí Míru. The first event happens tonight at 7 p.m., when the façade of the Church of Saint Ludmila will be lit up by video mapping created by French visual collective AV Extended, in a visual performance accompanied by the music of Czech music producer Aid Kid.

The festival officially starts on Oct. 13, and features unique works by digital artist Refik Anadol, inspired by city data, a theatre production directed by Miřenka Čechová, and an installation by designer Maxim Velčovský connected to the war in Ukraine.

Art installation by Refik Anadol
Art installation by Refik Anadol

The festival takes place from Oct. 13 to 16, with light performances usually happening between 7 p.m. to 12 p.m. It will present a total of 15 installations on two festival routes -- one through the city center and another through the neighborhoods of Vinohrady and Vršovice -- that are free of charge to visit.

The festival also comprises a weeklong program at Kunsthalle Praha, the Centre for Architecture and Urban Planning (CAMP), and Galerie U Betlémské kaple, which come with an entry fee.

Art installation by AV Extended
Art installation by AV Extended

Festival director Martin Pošta said the upcoming edition "reflects all our core values of belonging, cooperation and diversity" that are part of the EU, which led the festival organizers to dedicate this year's celebration to the Czech Presidency of the EU Council and the Light for Europe project. Pošta added that the installations found in the participating galleries are the festival's biggest project so far.

Artists to look forward to

One of the best-known Czech designers, Maxim Velčovský, has created an installation in Mariánské náměstí that addresses the war in Ukraine. The work, titled "The Physical Possibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living," consists of burnt-out cars imported directly from war-torn regions in Ukraine.

Art installation by Maxim Velčovský
Art installation by Maxim Velčovský

They are accompanied by stories of Ukrainian citizens who lost not only their cars, but often all their property, and their loved ones in the war. The project is created in cooperation with the non-profit organization Post Bellum and the Embassy of Ukraine in Prague. 

New media artist Refik Anadol has prepared a unique work that is based on urban data provided by Prague's Institute of Planning and Development. The work will be on display at CAMP until Nov. 6.

In collaboration with the multimedia and multi-genre ensemble of the National Theatre Laterna Magika, Signal Festival will present a production combining video mapping and dance. 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 production will take place on the premises of the Kateřinská zahrada, which is part of the General University Hospital. 

The work of one of the most successful Czech artists on the NFT scene, Ondřej Zunka, will be on display at the Kunsthalle Praha. The interactive projection PHOTOSYSTEM II will give visitors an insight into the secrets of photosynthesis. The program will also include an exhibition of young Czech digital artists. The INVISIBLE FORCES project will be presented in the experimental space of Kunsthalle Praha called Aw! Lab. The PPF Foundation supports the international program of Signal Festival 2022. 

About Signal Festival:

  • Signal is a festival of digital and creative culture.
  • Signal brings together contemporary visual art, urban space and modern technology.
  • It has become the most visited cultural event in the Czech Republic.
  • The program consists of renowned international and Czech artists from the fields of light design, visual and digital art, artificial intelligence and conceptual art.
  • It supports the youngest Czech artists and organizes accompanying programs for children, professionals and students.
  • It cooperates with a number of international festivals and cultural institutions.
An artwork by Ondřej Zunka
An artwork by Ondřej Zunka

This year, the Vršovice neighborhood will join the map of festival locations for the first time ever. One installation that will light up Vršovice is the legendary CLOUD consisting of thousands of recycled light bulbs, which appeared at the first edition of the festival in 2013. Signal Festival will light up the installation in cooperation with the ČEZ Group. 

A commitment to eco-friendliness

Signal Festival strives to minimize the event's long-term environmental impact. As such, it uses low-consumption resources and limits the creation of printed programs and promotional items.

Pošta said that other ways of being more environmentally friendly is by encouraging visitors to walk between the festival's locations, handling the production of foreign works locally, and choosing eco-friendly materials that can be further recycled.

"Interestingly, Signal Festival is not as energy intensive as many people think. Electricity consumption in 2021 was about 10,000 kWh, which is the equivalent of about CZK 42,000," Pošta said, adding that the festival partially turns off certain lights to make the works stand out more, which lowers the overall consumption.

An artwork by Miřenka Chechová
An artwork by Miřenka Chechová

Plan your participation

The festival's off-program starts on Oct. 10 and continues until Oct. 16. The Signal Talks panel discussion at CAMP will introduce the most famous Czech artists who have previously exhibited their works at Signal. But the festival isn't just looking to the past. It is also planning a debate on NFT and digital art, a guided tour and a workshop at Kunsthalle Praha.

The off-program also includes a multimedia performance by VEKTROSKOP and a joint exhibition by Michal Škapa and Michal Cimala at Galerie U Betlémské kaple. Visitors can enjoy the festival safely and comfortably this year, thanks to a content campaign created by Signal Festival and the insurance company Kooperativa. The campaign offers useful advice and recommendations on how to enjoy the festival in the best and safest way.

Nearly 100 trained coordinators on the streets will take care of visitors during the festival. The organizers are also ensuring the safety of the event in cooperation with the crisis staff of the capital city of Prague. Visitors can find additional information in the free festival app.

An artwork by Jan Hladil
An artwork by Jan Hladil

Locations and entry fees

A large part of the program is free of charge, while the gallery zone, which is the largest in its history, requires tickets. The gallery zone includes an impressive large-format projection by Refik Anadol (at CAMP), a hyper-realistic work by Ondřej Zunka (at Kunsthalle Praha), a dynamic play of laser beams by Japanese artist Shohei Fujimoto (at Saint Salvator Church), a theatrical performance by Laterna Magika (at Kateřinská zahrada), an installation by the young Prague collective Tabula Rasa (at Vzlet) and a moving light installation by the French studio Collectif Scale (at Heroldovy sady).

For these installations you need to buy a Signal Plus ticket, which allows you to visit the works repeatedly. It costs CZK 340 on the spot. Visitors can buy a ticket on site for the whole family, which includes 2 adults and up to 3 children, for CZK 950. For the first time ever, visitors have the option of purchasing the Signal VIP ticket, which allows festival fans to head to the gallery zone one hour before the official opening of the program (between 6 – 7 p.m.) and avoid all the queues. Signal VIP tickets cost CZK 1,990. 

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