Our Offices & Partners Abroad


Openlab: The Witness

The platform Openlab: The Witness


Can conscious listening spark radical change? This is the question explored by the long-term project Openlab: The Witness. Artists, scientists and activists from all around the world work together with local communities and listen to messages coming from our endangered planet. Their findings are recorded in audio, video and text format and presented on an interactive world map. The recordings call upon us to witness what may be disappearing forever and to build new networks committed to the preservation of earth and its life forms. The exchange platform is open and accessible to all those who want to participate. Arts practitioners from all over the globe can submit, share or upload their contributions, and audiences can take part by listening and, if willing to do so, joining in the dialogue.

The Openlab: The Witness project is due to run for three years (2021 – 2023) in cooperation with SONIC MATTER, the Zurich-based platform for contemporary experimental music. It is linked up with various festivals and other platforms around the world. Openlab is also active in the regions covered by Pro Helvetia’s offices abroad: In 2021, research was carried out and the outcome produced in North and South America, in 2022 the focus is on South Asia and Southern Africa, and in 2023 the spotlight will be on Central and East Asia as well as the Arab region.

The SONIC MATTER festival in Zurich is held once a year. Arts practitioners from all over the world gather for concerts, sound journeys, performances, exhibitions and discussions. Openlab groups will also take the stage this year to present their research results.

Body and Being © Chaoba Thiyam