Prague’s Žižkov TV Tower set for videomapping of Apollo 11 moon launch, landing

19-07-2019

The Žižkov television tower in Prague, once voted the world’s second-ugliest building, will host a virtual space launch this Saturday evening – thanks to an ambitious videomapping project. Filip Liška, who came up with the idea, says the tower is the ideal stand-in for the real Apollo 11 launcher, from which astronauts embarked on the first Moon landing, 50 years ago.

Photo: archive of mvp eventsPhoto: archive of mvp events This Saturday at precisely 22:17 – the exact moment the Apollo lunar module Eagle landed – an array of targeted lights and sounds will transform the Žižkov TV tower into a faithful replica of the Apollo 11 launch site, circa July 1969, and recreate the mission launch, journey to and landing on the Moon.

I began by asking Filip Liška when the idea came to him, and what it has taken to realise the project, and what particular challenges were connected with this videomapping project.

Photo: archive of mvp eventsPhoto: archive of mvp events “In some way, it reflects the Apollo mission itself, because we started off really late – it was in late April, and we just thought it would be awesome to mark the 50th anniversary.

“Me and my brother-in-law, Ondřej Boháč, who is another author of the project, built a model of the Saturn V rocket out of Lego and saw just how big it was and wanted to compare it to something. I live in Žižkov, and was born there, and the Žižkov TV tower was an obvious choice.”

“The grey part, the side columns of the TV tower are actually the same size as the Saturn V rocket. So, we thought, ‘This is great. And videomapping is perfect for it!’ And we got in touch with some friends, acquaintances who are experienced in this, and they really loved it. Thanks to their effort and energy, it could happen in such a short time.”

Have you yourself done any videomapping projects before?

“No. We have an expert for it – František Pekáček – a 3D model expert who has done a lot of great projects, videomappings, for example of the Berlin TV tower in Alexanderplatz. So he has experience with this kind of really strange format, strange canvas.”

If we could give listeners a sense of the scale, the actual size of this TV tower, which dominates the Prague skyline – it is the skyline, in that area! And it’s had a lot of nicknames over the years.

“One is ‘the rocket’!”

Photo: archive of mvp eventsPhoto: archive of mvp events One is the rocket – I was just about to say… Without giving too much away, as many listeners will want to see it for themselves and be surprised, can you tell us a bit about what the audience can expect?

“The main motivation to do it there was to experience the whole scale, the whole mass of the rocket really from within touching distance. The spectators at Cape Canaveral had to watch it from a distance of several kilometres.

“Now, the rocket in its full size will be projected on the Žižkov TV tower. And it would be a wasted opportunity to let the rocket just stand. So, there will of course be the lift-off, and the voyage itself, with all the stages of the rocket falling, and the lunar module Eagle landing on the Moon’s surface itself.

“There will be some other 3D theatre – surprises – so I really hope people will come and enjoy our show!”

Ahead of the videomapping projection at 22:17 on Saturday are a series of concerts, lectures, interviews and workshops at the Mahlerovy sady park next to the Žižkov TV tower. The videomapping will be repeated at the same time on Sunday. For more information, see www.moon50.cz/english/

19-07-2019