Signal festival more popular than last year

Preliminary figures from WiFi use show that Signal remains the most popular cultural event

The fourth edition of the Signal Festival of light art drew more people than the previous one and retained its title as the most popular cultural event in the city, according to preliminary estimates. The festival ran from Oct. 13 to 16 with 23 installations across Prague.

Some 616,193 unique WiFi instruments were detected by the Cisco wireless network at 18 locations. Overall, there were 1,093,678 visits. The data reflects the number of people who accessed WiFi hotspots or had WiFi activated on a device near the festival's hotspots.

Visitors spent the most time at Kampa park in Malá Strana, which had three installations: Dron~list by Jakub Nepraš, one of the illuminated humanoids from Fantastic Planet by Amanda Parer and a 3D videomapping at Tyršův dům by Tigrelab, The average time in Kampa was 27 minutes.

The videomapping in Old Town Square, Voice of Figures by Radugadesign, clocked in with a 24-minute average visit, while the installation called Noisescape V2 by Teemu Määttänen at náměstí Jiřího z Poděbrad had an average time of 23 minutes.

In terms of the number of visitors, the busiest location was Karlovo náměstí, with 140,983 visits. That location had two works of art: another humanoid from Fantastic Planet by Amanda Parer and piece called Garden in Development by Javier Riera.

Two of the videomapping locations were also popular. Old Town Square saw 140,673 visits and náměstí Míru, with Point Line Surface Solid by Daniel Rossa, had some 117,226 visits.

The preliminary data is based in WiFi use, and soon more data on mobile phone use will come from operator O2, according to festival director Martin Pošta. “Now we know that the next edition, the fifth, will be a real challenge in light of the strong public interest. We are satisfied with this year. We have very good reviews from many quarters, which makes us very happy, but it is not time to rest. Now we will evaluate the festival, consider all the comments on its progress and, consequently, plan the next one, which will be a bit of a jubilee. It will be held Oct. 12 to 15, 2017,” Pošta said in a news release.

There were more interactive works this year, with the most popular ones including Light Sowers by Maotik in Vojanovy sady, which was inspired by fireflies, and Strings by David Vrbík at the Klementinum. This one let people interact with laser light to create music.

This year also saw the return of the Signal Dome, with two different evening projections and one educational projection in the daytime.

Some installations saw long lines. Epicenter v.2 by Tundra at Palác Národní created a light and music show in an unfinished building. Rezonátor by Jan Hladil at Colloredo-Mansfeldský palác was a large glass box containing an ever-changing light display.

Signal festival last year saw 400,000 visitors, and became the most popular cultural events in the Czech Republic with a significant impact on the capital's economy. According to a study by the firm Economic Impact, which worked with data for 2014, the festival has a large positive economic impact for the city, generating millions of crowns in business from the visitors and making a significant contribution in taxes. Visitors spent some Kč 42 million due to the festival, which doesn't count the spending to stage the festival itself. With taxes and social payments for festival employees, some Kč 15.7 million was generated for the public budget.

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