Prague, Oct. 29, 2013/ GK. A few weeks ago I announced the news about Prague’s new Signal light festival, Oct. 17-20, 2013. Expectations were high – and fully rewarded. The video mappings and light installations, state of the art high tech, bathed this old city into a brand new light in the very meaning of this word.
Behind all this is one of the most creative heads of this city, festival director Martin Pošta, also director of Prague’s Fresh Film Fest, a meanwhile renowned five day event for student and first feature films, of the annual designSUPERMARKET show ( For more on both events see the FunTasticPrague event calendar) and collaborating with the Republic’s most innovative video mapping group The Macula.
About 400,000 people went to see more than 30 installations, of which four were real video mappings. The most spectacular one was certainly Khôra, The Macula’s elaborate light celebration of St. Ludmila, by daylight a rather sober but awe inspiring tall neo Gothic church in Prague’s popular Náměstí Míru square.
Prague’s usually nostalgia laden Old Town Square sparkled and vibrated with the concert of sound and light beams of the HyperCube by French light artists 1024architecture, a sharp contrast to the glittering glass chandeliers suspended diagonally above the viewers’s heads in nearby Kafka square by Jaroslav Bejvl jr. & Preciosa Lighting.
It took three evenings and many kilometers of walking to see at least some of the exhibits. On Charles bridge huge realistic eyballs watched the passers-by, whereas below Charles bridge Czech virtuoso wind instrument artists, the Clarinet Factory, enchanted with their music the illuminated banks of Čertovka canal, playing on a boat, bathed in candle light. As if this was not fascinating enough, a huge surrealistic moth by Jakub Nepraš illustrated the music with serving as a canvas for projections of movie scenes by Czech animation movie pioneer Karel Zeman, whose museum is just around the corner.
Up on Hradčany hill, right beside the castle entrance, the Archbishop’s palace was optically enchanted, shattered and remodeled by Barcelona based video mappers Telenoika, and one had just to turn around to see Prague’s little Eiffel tower copy on Petřin hill, turned into a resplendent lighthouse, rotating its beam across the city.
The most solemn light sculpture was maybe Rony Plesl’s Uranium Figure in St. Martin-in-the-Wall church, inviting to sit down, think and meditate in the silence of this old chapel, dating back to the 12th century.
There would be a lot more to tell – the illuminated facade of the Dancing house, the light games on Klementinum and Tyršuv dům, the changing colours on the Emauzy monastery – even more fascinating, as contrary to the masses elsewhere, there was hardly anybody watching, or the IncandescentCloud by Canadian artists Caitlind Brown & Wayne Garrett, reflected in the waves of Vltava river close to the former Hergetová cihelna brickyard, today home of an upscale restaurant and the Kafka museum.
The organisers hope to make it a regular event. I do, too. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for 2014.