By Shazia Anwer Cheema
Prague Signal Light Festival 2021 concluded at midnight on October 17. The Festival started on October 14.
Dancing lights, creating hallucination and illusions —-this is what visitors experienced at the Prague Signal Light Festival that was not held last year due to COVID-19.
Playing with lights, shadows and dark patches are symbols of Czech Theatrical history and you can see the evolution of this quest of playing with lighting at the Prague Signal Light Festival.
This year, Light Festival displayed 20 artistic light exhibitions. Many historic buildings were used as canvases for the Signal Light Festival.
Czechs believe that sometimes the light is the art, sometimes the dark part is the art and often it’s the viewer who makes or is part of the art.
According to official data, since 2013 more than 3 million visitors had attended this Festival which is a festival of digital and creative culture.
It links contemporary visual art, urban space, and modern technologies. It has become the most visited cultural event in Czechia. World-famous foreign and Czech artists in the area of light design, visual and digital art, Artificial Intelligence, and conceptual art designed this biggest annual Light festival of the world. It links the historical backdrop of Prague with state-of-the-art technologies and contemporary social issues. Signal festival is one of the greatest producers of contemporary art in the Czech Republic. It supports the youngest generation of local artists and originated the creation of over seventy installations that were created especially for the festival. It organizes side-events for children, the professional public, and students. It cooperates with numerous foreign festivals and cultural institutions.
The signal does start abruptly every year rather Prague administration holds regular discussions, seminars, and symposiums to highlight the importance of Art of lighting. This year, the title of the symposium was “Is art sustainable?”.
This symposium lighted important issues including How to make sustainable or greener art, exhibitions and festivals? How to be sustainable when there is another closure of cultural institutions and lockdown making it impossible to present art in physical space?
The symposium had an exhibition of artworks by four students of the studio Time-Based Media from the Faculty of Art and Design of UJEP, who reflected on the themes of environmental crisis or climate change. The symposium encouraged a discussion on sustainability in the context of the local art environment. It also focused on the implementation of sustainable art exhibitions and festivals, sustainability as such as a content and theme of cultural events and artworks, but also the medium of artistic production or the ways in which artistic and cultural organisers execute their events. The symposium was held at Archa Theatre on October 15.
For the first time Neon Award competition for students of art colleges was arranged. The winner of the challenge was the work Simulacra by the artist duo Vítězslav Plavec and Filip Zeman from the Faculty of Architecture and Arts of the Technical University of Liberec. The installation, which is on display on the streets of Prague at the ninth edition of the festival from 14th to 17th October, plays with optical illusion and image distortion. It uses technologies known, for example, from the production of 3D posters. “Visual art with the medium of light is on the rise in the Czech Republic.
There are a growing number of young artists who are beginning to take up this discipline in institutions and are increasingly working with modern technologies in a very skilful way. The Neon Prize financially supports young artists who would otherwise find it difficult to finance their artistic endeavours. The aim of the Neon Prize is to support innovative artistic projects focused on contemporary digital technologies, animation, motion design or 3D animation.