Signals Festival 2021: We Look Back to the Future of Art & Technology

Signals Festival 2021 by Rita Couto

Signals Festival, our annual community showcase, took place on the 15th and 16th of October at Catalyst’s Funkhaus campus. Revisit selected live streams and photography by Rita Couto and Ian Margio in our recap of the utopia/dystopia themed event.

The word ‘utopia’ is a pun. It was coined from the Greek ou-topos, meaning ‘no place,’ which is almost identical to eu-topos, translating to ‘a good place.’ Though we have come to define utopia as a perfect world, the word itself suggests that such a state of perfection can never exist. The same can be assumed for its inverse, dystopia. But as art and technology continually blur the lines between the real and the imagined, in the future, what’s to say that we won’t find ourselves in one place or the other? 

At our annual community showcase, Signals Festival – which took place at Catalyst’s Funkhaus campus on the 15th and 16th of October – our diverse artist line-up explored this fascinating question through live performances, audio and visual installations, film screenings, workshops and in-depth dialogue. Having honed their talent in our vibrant corner of Berlin, a melting pot of culture and creativity, our roster of emerging artists showed us a flash of the future they are shaping. 

Signals Festival co-organisers Hannah Deans and Suzana Benesova once again encountered the hurdle of COVID, but the exciting hybrid event succeeded in making the whole pandemic situation feel much less dystopian. The festival was a breath of fresh air and, above all, a testament to the creative resilience of our students, alumni, staff and special guests. The most amazing part (other than the exceptional work, of course) was that we got to dance! A huge thank you to all who were part of the occasion.

Want to relive some of those special, bordering on perfect, moments? Watch selected live performances and dialogue below.