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Light Festival this Friday and Saturday

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Video mapping, light installations, interactive objects and other artworks connected with light will take over Pilsen on Friday 20 February and Saturday 21 February. Many locations along the Radbuza River will host the Festival of Light as part of the Pilsen – European Capital of Culture 2015 project. The programme of the Festival is being prepared by the Pilsen 2015 team together with the Signal Festival, ranked among the ten best similar-themed European festivals by The Guardian. Czech artists such as David Černý (the light sculpture Speederman), Jakub Nepraš (the video sculpture with sound Transmitter), Rony Plesl (the chandelier Uranium Figure), Vladimír 518 and David Vrbík (SPAM Interpretation of the black and white structures of Zdeněk Sýkora), and students of the Ladislav Sutnar Faculty of Art and Design Gabriela Matušková, Štěpán Svoboda and Štěpán Kuczman (the interactive installation The Heart). Artists from abroad will also feature – the group of architects and designers from Strasbourg AV Exciters (video mapping La Plante), the Japanese artists Hiroko Matsushita (the performance Shadows) and Kazumi Kashimura (the installation Light Bottles) as well as the German artist Axel T. Schmidt (the site-specific installation Die Herde). The Canadian artistic duo Caitlind Brown and Wayne Garrett (the light sculpture A Cloud) will present their light works. There is free entry to the festival; all installations will be on display on both days from 6:00pm to 11:30pm and the whole trail is sure to make for a nice evening walk.

“The Light Festival is an important part of one of the pillars of Pilsen 2015 project called The Public Space. Thanks to these artists, we try to see already-known places literally in a new light, and to forge a more intense relationship with the city we live in,” explains the Pilsen 2015 Programme Director, Jiří Sulženko. The Festival of Light will present original and previously unseen works as well as installations which have already been seen by visitors to the Signal Festival in Prague but which are given a “new dimension” in new places. “The location plays its role and can give the work a new context so it makes a different impression,” adds the Director of the Signal Festival, Martin Pošta. The Signal Festival became the most visited cultural event of the last year in the Czech Republic, with 430,000 visitors. Pilsen will see 10 installations, half of which have been created especially for this year’s Light Festival. The visitors themselves become an important part of many of the works. “We will be including interactive light installations that draw viewers in,” invites Martin Pošta.

The spine of the festival will be the Radbuza River. “The route between DEPO2015 and the brewery is an adventurous challenge and the installations show the opportunities which playing with light brings,” says Jiří Sulženko. There will be specific places with installations such as DEPO2015, Papírna, underneath the Millennium Bridge, the playground by the Radbuza between the depot and the river baths, the Koranda choir, the church of the Assumption of Virgin Mary, the Museum of West Bohemia, the building of the BCB “skyscraper”, Tyršova Street subway pass, Štruncovy sady, and the Pilsner Urquell courtyard and beer cellars which will be open to visitors for the first time in the brewery’s history.

The Opening Ceremony of the Light Festival will begin on 20 February at 8:20pm, just before the start of the special PechaKucha Night in DEPO2015. Some of the creators and authors of the light installations will be among the guests performing at the very first public event in this space.

The former Radbuza river baths will take part in the festival on both days with a community event, Lanterns above the River Baths, which will be co-created by visitors. The river baths will also offer hot drinks and refreshments, a warming fire and a ferryman. “Visitors will enjoy a friendly atmosphere to relax and get started on their journey. The area will be lit by lanterns and candles, and because the Chinese New Year is celebrated the previous day, the evening will be accompanied by Asian-style live music. The Chinese trio Pražské S’-ču, the dance group from Pilsen NoTa and Geld und Money Theatre Plzeň will perform on Friday. On Saturday, the event will be joined by frost-hardy people and jugglers, while a DJ will create an ambient atmosphere. The lantern procession will start in the evening from here; you can bring your own lanterns or candle lamps and help us create the neighbourly atmosphere of the Light Festival,” invites Marek Sivák from the association Foster the City, which is organising the event with the support of Pilsen 2015.

The trail from the DEPO2015 to the Radbuza river baths will be lit by miniature LED bulbs as part of the installation by a Japanese artist called ”Light Bottles“. Schools and offices in Pilsen are currently collecting used plastic bottles into which Kazumi Kashimura will breathe new life. Pilseners can contribute to the collection up until Friday 13 February at the collection point in KD Peklo (lobby – open daily 9:00am-12:00pm and 1:00pm-5:00pm). Transparent half-litre bottles will be given a new dimension in this artistic installation and will draw attention to the topics of ecology and recycling. The artistic residencies of both Japanese artists are supported by Smart Illuminations in Yokohama and EU – Japan Fest.

To mark the Ball of the City of Pilsen, on Saturday 21 February, Měšťanská beseda will be illuminated and the BCB skyscraper on Anglické nábřeží will be illuminated on both days.

A list of installations:

1. Shadows / Hiroko Matsushita (JAP) / DEPO2015
silk paper, reverse projections

The Japanese artist Hiroko Matsushita will create delicate and sensitive paper installations, in the spirit of Japanese craft traditions, in the dramatic environment of the DEPO2015 creative zone. As part of the artistic residencies in Pilsen, he will present his project Shadows, which uses reverse projections on silk paper. In both his art and his public workshops, he will remind us that light is not just a basic need for us but that it also brings beauty and assurance into our lives.

2. Light Bottles / Kazumi Kashimura (JAP) / Playground by the River Baths
used plastic bottles, LED light sources

The young Japanese artist Kazumi Kashimura has been working with the phenomenon of light in all its forms as part of her artistic residency in Pilsen. Her light installation will try and bring to life the “souls” of common plastic bottles which will brighten the Radbuza riverside with the help of thousands of miniature LED light bulbs. Kashimura will introduce installations comprised of hundreds of recycled plastic bottles converted into unexpected sculptures, and will react to the topics of ecology and recycling in her own way.

3. Speederman / David Černý / Café Papírna
light sculpture
fibreglass, LED displays, steel, electronics, 380 cm tall

The significant Czech artist David Černý often surprises with his distinctive views, provocative gestures and controversial art workshops. The public space in Prague now contains several of his sculptures, including the installation of Miminka (Babies) on the Zizkov TV tower as part of Prague – European Capital of Culture 2000. Černý will bring to Pilsen his sculpture Speederman that was introduced during the 2nd season of the SIGNAL Festival.

4. Transmitter / Jakub Nepraš / under the Millennium Bridge
video sculpture with sound
perspex, wood, objects found on the ocean shore, 230 x 220 x 300 cm
8-minute loop, 2 projectors

It has been proven that water has a specific memory. The ocean must keep and transform all information the flowing water has collected on the way from its source through our homes and cities all the way to the ocean. Does it also have a widespread memory like space or the internet might have? Words and their meanings have a big effect on the global emotional wellbeing and mood of present-day society. We can measure some signals far beyond the stratosphere borders. Even further, they are absorbed by the unlimited space which transforms them into noise. We can’t read back this noise but it still exists and is peppered with fragments of our screams.
The author of the installation is the visual artist Jakub Nepraš, who combines media, video and sculpture in his work.

5. HEARTS / Gabriela Matušková, Štěpán Svoboda, Štěpán Kuczman – The Ladislav Sutnar Faculty of Arts and Design of the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen / Koranda Choir
interactive installation
hardened polypropylene, LED lights

The heart is a strong symbol. It is a geometric shape which loses none of its humanity. The artistic interactive installation by three multimedia students is unique in its grandness and technical features. It is a geometric heart hung in space reacting to its environment, music and people’s behaviour through lights and animation. It connects art and cybernetics. It interlinks humanity with cutting-edge technology through light and music. It is an installation which will connect people together for a moment – they will participate in creating the final effect and through their actions, they will be able to affect what is happening above their heads.

6. La Plante / AV Exciters (FR) / The Museum of West Bohemia in Pilsen
video mapping

AV Exciters is a group of architects and designers from Strasbourg creating digital prototypes and new technologies. On the line dividing reality and the virtual, AVE create unusual architecture through microarchitecture and interactive installations. These artists, who create international-standard video mapping, are preparing a project for the Light Festival tailor-made to the historical building of the Museum of West Bohemia.

7. Uranium Figure / Rony Plesl / Church of the Assumption of Virgin Mary, Františkánská Street
uranic glass, UV lamps, electronics

The hanging light relief Uranium Figure is made of tubes from precious green uranic glass and invites visitors to contemplate. Each tube contains a UV lamp giving the uranic glass an intense green-yellow glow. The author of the sculpture, Rony Plesl, has won the Red Dot Design Award, Good Design Award and Czech Grand Design Award. He worked for four years as a designer in the oldest family firm in the world, the glass factory Barovier & Toso, and worked on the artistic look of the Cartier exhibition in Prague. He has been working for ten years with the German company SAHM and since 2008 has been the Head of the Glass Studio at the University of Applied Art in Prague. He works for research clients both at home and abroad, and mostly works on grand architectural projects and free creation. His works are represented in prestigious collections at home and abroad.

8. SPAM Interpretation of B&W structures of Zdeněk Sýkora / Vladimír 518 and David Vrbík / subway crossing on Tyršova Street
video & audio presentation
8-minute loop

The audio-visual project SPAM is an expressive visual and audio interpretation of geometric paintings by Zdeněk Sýkora. It tries to find the method and principle of his work by setting Sýkora’s works in motion and showing the audience some unexpected and elaborate structures from his abstract paintings. The video, co-created by David Vrbík and Ondřej Anděra, shows how art is related to mathematics.
SPAM is a project of Vladimir 518 and David Vrbík with their regular guest Ondřej Anděra from the WWW group. The main topic of the project is the synchronisation of visual and audio elements – laser, video, audio and light – into one unit, and their reciprocal composition and decomposition.

9. Die Herde / Axel T. Schmidt (DE) / Pilsner Urquell beer cellars
2015 / 2005
site specific installation
gas tubes, tainted glass, metal construction, battery engine

“I put my world on its feet and I use all sorts of materials and devices!” The German artist Axel T. Schmidt will use the beer cellars to present his installation Die Herde, composed of more than forty red and blue lamps with pulsating light which rotate. Their turning slows down and gradually comes to a halt. But Die Herde goes on.

10. A Cloud / Caitlind Brown & Wayne Garrett (IRL) / Pilsner Urquell courtyard
light sculpture
3rd copy (2014)
classical light bulbs, LED light bulbs, steel, ball chain

The installation A Cloud is made up of a thousand classical household light bulbs. Combined with LED light bulbs, this gives a new potential to electrical waste; it inspires awe and encourages festival-goers to cooperate and try and collectively switch the CLOUD off and on again. During preparation, the authors collected burnt-out light bulbs from their neighbourhood, which created an informal relationship with the public, lowered the production price and made the participants think about alternative uses for their home appliances. The installation has been greeted with great interest from audiences and has managed to enchant viewers in Calgary, Moscow and Chicago as well as in Czech regions.
Caitlind Brown & Wayne Garrett work with various media and materials – from classical light bulbs to recycled architectural waste. They engage in interactions in the public space, art in an unusual context, recycling of household waste, community collaboration and play. The artistic duo co-created many installations in places destined for demolition (The House Project, Wreck City).

The CLOUD installation from the ZIBA collection is on loan from the Museum of Modern Glass in Prague,

Supporting programme:

The Opening Ceremony of the Light Festival on Friday 20 February:
The programme of the Light Festival will officially open at 8:15pm just before the start of the special PechaKucha Night in DEPO2015. Some of the creators and authors of the light installations will be among the guests performing at the very first public event in DEPO2015, organised by the Pilsen association To the World.

Lanterns above the River Baths – the former Radbuza river baths / Friday & Saturday
Friday 20.2.2015
6:30 – 7:30pm: Geld und Money Theatre Plzeň: “Oshidori ducks”. The Pilsen idea of Japanese punk

7:00pm; 8:00pm; 9:00pm: Pražské S’-ču: traditional Chinese music lit by lanterns. Jan Chmelarčík (zither zheng), Lenka Cvrčková (violin erhu), Štěpán Němec (bamboo flutes)

8:30pm; 9:30pm: NoTa dance show “Inspiration in Haiku”. Music: Jana Vöröschová, recording of the Berg orchestra; choreography: Lenka Jíšová, Kateřina Lisková, Pavla Nováková.
Compositions inspired by haiku “A butterfly is dancing on the tip of an arrow that stabbed a roebuck.” (Kobayashi Issa] and “Nobody will glimpse the night high tide approaching the shore. I am approaching you through dreams and avoiding glances by day.” (Fujikawara Toshiyuki)

10:00pm: Joint lantern procession to a viewing point with a nocturnal surprise.

Saturday 21.2.2015
7:00pm : Pilsen frost-hardy folk: a night display by the sports club of frost-hardy folk
Pilsner Dragons: the passing of a floodlit dragon boat

7:30pm –10:00pm: DJ Zjook: ambient rhythms inspired by the Far East

8:00pm; 9:00pm: Žonglér o. s.: Asian-style fire show

10:00pm: Joint lantern procession to a viewing point with a nocturnal surprise.

The 2015 Bus and the To the World container in the DEPO2015 courtyard
The culture bus line No. 2015 will be parked in the yard with a lit bubble offering places to sit and fashion brands and design marketing items for sale. Next to it, you will be able to buy mulled wine from the To the World container.

The Municipal Lighthouse / Where: BCB building, Anglické nábřeží / Friday & Saturday
A municipal lighthouse right in the middle of the Bright Walk through the Light Festival will reliably guide all stray seekers of light installations back to the trail. We would like to thank Kerio and Business Centre Bohemia for providing the space.

A special stop on Saturday 21.2. – Měšťanská beseda, Kopeckého sady:
The historical building will be floodlit especially for this evening to mark the Ball of the City of Pilsen.

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