We interviewed the director of the Signal Festival, Martin Pošta. How did he like this year’s festival? What role can art play in environmental issues and what plans does he have for the festival in the future? Find out in our interview.
The 9th edition of the Signal Festival has just taken place. What does Signal mean to you? How do you perceive it?
I see it as an important opportunity to shift people’s thinking, as a chance to conquer the city as my own playground for artworks for a few days, as a chance to promote or highlight social problems and issues through contemporary and digital art. But also as a huge responsibility and psychological burden.
What are you most pleased with about this year’s festival? What installation did you enjoy the most?
This year was specific as we had a minimum of international artists. But I was pleasantly surprised by Kateřina Blahutová’s Living Forest installation, I enjoyed the video mapping in Karlín Square, which showed a different approach to established principles, and the installation in the Planetarium about the devastation of the landscape was great.
What role do you think art and digital culture can play in environmental protection?
As I already mentioned – it’s about bringing awareness to the public, not just entertaining them, but communicating important information to festival goers through new forms of art.
Were environmental issues also taken into consideration when organising the festival? If so, how?
We commissioned an analysis from the Institute of Circular Economy on how we, as organisers, can play our part and what we can do about it. We found that the easiest burdens to eliminate in our case are catering and merch, which we decided to keep to an absolute minimum this year.
This year Signal came up with a new permanent augmented reality project. What gave you the idea to move Signal’s concept in this direction, why augmented reality?
It wasn’t my idea, it was the idea of my colleagues in charge of the program. The idea behind it was a reaction to the corona pandemic. We were shut down last year a week before the festival due to covid, so we were looking for a method to deal with every possible situation that could arise in the event of a lockdown. In case the whole festival was banned, we would have something left over. However, we conceived of it more as an experiment to see what we could do with the technology.
Could augmented reality be seen as a kind of a vanguard of where Signal Festival will go next year?
This is something that’s not quite crystallized yet, but I’m sure Signal Festival will change. I don’t think augmented reality will necessarily be the backbone of it, because I think sharing experiences is the main idea of Signal Festival, but the question is who we are going to do it for and how many people we are going to do it for. Augmented reality will be a nice addition to what we’re doing, just another layer to our festival.