In the winter of 2007 I spent a midweek in the vicinity of Ghent and Brueges in Belgium. Part of the day in Ghent we spent in S.M.A.K., the museum of modern art. One room was filled with four screens on the four walls, loud speakers and leather seats. A video was playing with people in a pub making awful music or not even that, attempting to make music, but not coming even close. I was about to pack it in when the screen went black and another to the right of me lit up. "Complaint choir Helsinki" it read. I turned around on the seats and became mesmerised within a few seconds. A huge choir assembled in what looks like a neo-classical train station. A piano started this beautiful melody and the choir chimed in, singing its complaints in complex harmonies. Big world spanning ones, small private ones, ones to laugh out loud with. So much humour. There were two more choirs, from St. Petersburg and Hamburg, but one stood out, because of the music, the singing, the humour, the approach.
The complaint choir is a project by two Finnish artists, Tellervo Kalleinen and Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen, who let people complain in writing, but only allow the complaint if they are willing to come and sing it. And thus art was born. By now there appear to be complaint choirs all over the world. I just would like to share this one with you, as it is very special.
You can listen to the Helsinki Complaint Choir here.