Geoweb : creating new geographies


Visit the site >>>

Geoweb - A body of artistic works on the geographic web

Public Address System
par Zahra Poonawala

Public Address System in an ongoing collaborative project, pointing out a variety of loudspeakers operating in public areas. These can be found everywhere accross borders, from the biggest megalopole to the smallest village. Filming them puts an accent on what is heard but not necessarily listened to or even noticed. It is like a world-scale sound installation, an "acousmonium" where authority speaks, silently or loudly, through the mouth-like loudspeakers. The collection now consists of more than 50 announcements of different nature, be it political, religious, informative, commercial, or alertive. The juxtaposition of all these tells us yet another story.

Visitors can navigate through the collection using the map or the research tools. They can also contribute to the project with their own movies of outdoor PA Systems located in other public areas. Any appropriate device can be used to create the videos. With the website interactive menu, the films can be uploaded and automaticaly added to the database. Different video installations of the Public Address System project have been set up since 2008, notably at the Mulhouse008 art bienal where it was rewarded by the Regional Contemporary Art Funds (FRAC), and at the Regionale 9 in Basel, Switzerland. This new online version will help to feed the next installations.


A young Franco-Swiss artist of Indian origins, Zahra Poonawala is initially a cellist who now creates interactive sound installations and online performances. In questioning the spatialization of sound and its sources, as well as the viewer’s relationship to this space, she investigates the notion of the individual’s absorption within a group and the limits of his/her space. These experimentations recently led her to perform with a percussionist and to create video-temporal lags based on the musician’s gestures. Over the last two years her videos have been presented in numerous European festivals. In 2007 she graduated from the École Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs de Strasbourg.


Production, web design and integration : Agence TOPO
Concept: Zahra Poonawala
Content: Zahra Poonawala & contributers

The artist's stay in Montréal was made possible with the help from Géographies variables, a cultural residency exchange program between France and Québec, the Centre européen d'actions artistiques contemporaines in Strasbourg (CEAAC) and the Office franco-québécois pour la jeunesse (OFQJ).