Prague prepares for launch of annual light show

This Thursday marks the start of the four-day 2017 Signal Festival, an annual light show in Prague, billed as the biggest cultural event in the Czech Republic. The festival, which began in 2013, celebrates light art, with various dazzling installations from a variety of global artists wowing visitors around the capital. I spoke with festival organizer Martin Pošta and began by asking him to describe what is in store for this year:

Signal 2016, photo: Marta GuzmánSignal 2016, photo: Marta Guzmán “This installation of the Signal Festival brings twenty light and tech art installations into the centre of Prague. And not just the city centre – this year we have prepared a special ‘Vinohrady Route’, so we have kind of split up the festival into two parts. Because last year we had more than 570,000 visitors and we wanted to spread it out more evenly throughout the city.”

What kind of installations will people see? And what artists are partaking?

“There are twenty artists, and approximately half of these are Czech and Slovak. The other half comes from all over the world – we have guest artists from Spain, Canada, Japan, Australia etc. And each of them are preparing a distinct installation, the majority of which are newly made just for the festival…The scope of the festival’s art is actually very broad. Some are large-scale video-mapping installations, some of them are more subtle and don’t rely that much on technology, and are based on natural and semi-natural sources of light. And we have also prepared a 3D video-mapping projection by artist Filip Roca, which is going to be projected onto Tyršův dům in Kampa.”

So regular tourists will see these light installations at tourist spots right in the centre of Prague...

“Exactly. There are fifteen of them in the heart of Prague within walking distance of Old Town Square. Some of the installations are indoors, because they are more suitable for being inside – we have four such installations this year. Everything is within walking distance to each other. Maps will be available for tourists and visitors…and then there is the new ‘Vinohrady Route’, which will be spread out between Náměstí Míru and Jiřího z Poděbrad, and will feature five installations.”

Signal 2015, photo: archive of Signal FestivalSignal 2015, photo: archive of Signal Festival What would you say is the point of the festival? What do you want visitors to experience?

“The main point of the festival is to make visual art more accessible to visitors and to enliven the city centre of Prague. A second aim is to bring friends and families together, and back into the city centre, which is normally mostly populated by tourists, and to generate a kind of community gathering feeling – although in the past four years it has become a very big community gathering.”

The festival runs from October 12-15