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Musical moaning

Published: September 22, 2006 (Issue # 1206)


In a unique art project, members of the public are asked to complain and set their grumbles to music.

Complaining can be fun, complaining can be art and complaining can be a very entertaining and enlightening experience. Confused? An interactive art project taking place in St. Petersburg this weekend has the answers.

Finnish-German duo Tellervo Kalleinen and Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen have found an original outlet for everyone who wants to complain about lifes problems, big and small: to turn the grumbles into a song and have the moaning minnies sing it in public as part of a complaints choir. Energy expended expressing dissatisfaction, anger and other negative emotions is transformed into something productive, cathartic and entertaining.

The artists have already run the complaining choirs in Birmingham in the U.K., Helsinki and Hamburg.

The project invites people to submit complaints which are reworked during a series of workshops with help from professional musicians. No singing skills are required. The result is a song performed live by a choir made up of local enthusiasts, and the performance is videotaped.

In St. Petersburg, the workshops have been running this week and performances take place on Saturday and Sunday in the city center (see program below) as part of the Contemporary Art in The Traditional Museum festival run by the Pro Arte institute.

The artists behind the choir are very excited about the the project taking place in Russia.

Russia is undergoing quite dramatic changes. It is interesting to see what will happen there with the choir after the fairly stable welfare society of Finland, Kochta-Kalleinen said in an interview with The St. Petersburg Times.

But why bring the choir to St. Petersburg?

Actually St. Petersburg chose us. Pro Arte wanted to organize the choir, but for us this was perfect, since we expect a great tradition of lamenting in song in this town, Kochta-Kalleinen said.

Although the act of complaining is something that everyone can relate to, the complaints of those living in Birmingham seemed to differ from those expressed by people of Helsinki or in Hamburg judging by the results of the previous complaining choir events.

In Finland, people complained a great deal about mobile phones.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at todays Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nations premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the citys elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolans latest film Mommy at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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