Signal Festival 2016 will light up Prague

The festival of light art is the biggest cultural event in the country

The fourth annual Signal Festival of Lights is a few weeks away. It will run from Oct. 13 to 16, with 20 installations including video-mappings, light objects and works, and interactive installations. New this year will be a daytime program for children featuring topics from Czech history projected on the walls of the Signal Dome. The festival has become the country's largest cultural event, with attendance last year at 400,000 people.

This year’s festival presents work from artists and studios from 11 countries. “Our goal is to draw attendees into the action as much as possible, and for this reason we’re planning a relatively large number of interactive installations and installations that integrate visual and musical aspects into a truly spellbinding atmosphere. Two-thirds of them will also premiere in Prague, making our viewers the first to see and experience them,” festival director Martin Pošta said in a news release.

This year's festival will be ushered in by an installation by Japanese artist Yasuhira Chido in front of the Palladium mall starting Oct. 9, a few days ahead of the official festival launch. Here attendees can experience the “Brocken specter,” an optical phenomenon that usually appears at high altitudes.

From Oct. 13 pedestrians can encounter humanoids created by Australian artist Amanda Parer. They are inspired by the Czechoslovak animated film Fantastic Planet.

There are also three videomapping project created exclusively for the festival. Russian creative studio Radugadesign is known for its opulent creations, while German artist Daniel Rossa emphasizes minimalism and clean lines. The third videomapping, from the Spanish studio Tigrelab, will be in 3D and require glasses.

Several of the installations will involve audience participation. The installation by Czech artist David Vrbík operates on the principle of a musical instrument. Those who loved catching fireflies can reconnect with their childhood as they activate and illuminate the work of French artist Maotik. Anyone who ever wished to create a light projection will have that chance thanks to the interactive installation by American artist Zachary Lieberman. He is the author of openFrameworks coding software, which allows people to control his installation.

Part of the festival program will include the giant Signal Dome. Every evening from 7 pm onwards, visitors to the Dome will find themselves immersed in spherical projections created by Czech studio the Macula and Turkish artists Can Büyükberber and Yagmur Uyanik.

Between 9:30 am and 6 pm, an animated projection in the Signal Dome will present topics from Czech history and the reign of Charles IV, created in collaboration with Czech Television with the support of the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic. The Signal Dome is the only site of the festival with an entrance fee. Tickets for the evening projections cost Kč 190 per evening projection and the daytime performances cost Kč 70. The 3D glasses for the 3D videomapping also must be purchased.

Festival attendees will be able to download a smartphone app shortly before the event begins. It has a detailed interactive map of the festival, location updates, and other information.

WiFi hotspots will be available at most installations. “We improve our app every year, and we want everyone to be able to use it without worrying about their data plan. At the same time, we also want to make it easy for attendees to share their festival experiences with friends via social media. That’s why we decided to provide our very own WiFi hotspots this year,” Pošta said.

The city supports the festival, as it brings in tourists. “We consider the Signal Festival a very distinguished cultural event that contributes to the promotion and cultural development of Prague. For this reason, we have included it among the seven top-priority events of the city to receive our support,” Prague Mayor Adriana Krnáčová (ANO) said.

Pošta did not expect the festival to be so successful so quickly. “When we organized the first annual festival four years ago, we never dared to hope that it would grow to such proportions within a mere three years. This brings with it a great responsibility, and for this reason we deeply appreciate the support of the Capital City of Prague led by Mayor Adriana Krnáčová. Thanks to her, we are able to bring our attendees so many new installations and experiences this year,” Pošta said.

Signal Festival Prague

Video on YouTube

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