In the Finnish vocabulary there is an expression "Valituskuoro". It means "Complaints Choir" and it is used to describe situations where a lot of people are complaining simultaneously. Complaints choirs gather groups of citizens to discuss complaints and turn into lyrics and then perform as songs. First conceived in Finland,put into practice in Birmingham in England, it is now spreading around the world.
The two founders, Kalleinen and Kochta-Kalleinen, started the initiative when they realized that complaining was a universal phenomenon and that such a project could be organised in any city around the world. Kalleinen and Kochta-Kalleinen offered the concept to different events where they were invited as artists – but it was only after Springhill Institute in Birmingham got excited about the idea that the First Complaints Choir became a reality. The Institute collected complaints and choir members by using flyers and posters. Birmingham musician Mike Hurley turned the moans about the city into a song.
The Complaints Choir concept is a creative way to channel everybody’s complaints into an art project.
It brings together people who all have the same common desire to voice displeasure. By choosing the form of singing (everybody can sing) and the subject of complaints (everybody has something to complain about) the Complaints Choir makes the artistic project accessible to all.
After the Complaints Choir of Birmingham became a surprise success Kalleinen and Kochta-Kalleinen have been invited to initiate complaints choirs all around the globe. In numerous letters people describe how exactly in Hong Kong, Philadelphia, Gothenburg, or Buenos Aires people complain perhaps more than anywhere else in the world. After Birmingham Kalleinen and Kochta-Kalleinen have facilitated Complaints Choir workshops in Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Hamburg-Wilhelmsburg, Chicago, Singapore and Copenhagen. They have documented all the performances and they are presenting the videos as a powerful video installation in art exhibitions as well as on their Website.
The limited capacity of Kalleinen & Kochta-Kalleinen to fulfil the apparent big need for complaints choirs worldwide have led them to open a web site and encourage people to form their own complaints choir. Meanwhile several Complaints Choirs have been initiated by other people around the world.