Public Complaint Office
Images and archive of complaints
Barcelona, Venice, Rotterdam and Bogotá 2015-2017
Thanks to the support of Juan David Galindo and Juan Pablo Caicedo.
NEST art center. Bogotá, Colombia 2017. FUTURE LANDSCAPES.
International Art and Architecture Festival in Venice, Italy 2016. WORM Performance Bar. Rotterdam, NL 2016. Common Sense. Galeria Chez Xefo. Barcelona 2016. Urbagenación. LaContra Barcelona 2015
How can we use non- governmental spaces in order to build a stronger sense of citizenship?
How to hack institutional and bureaucratic languages in order to appropriate public spaces?
What is the political potential of generous listening practices?
Considering the complaint as situated information and a potential tool for grass root action, this proposal arises from the intention of collectively constructing a non-governmental listening space for residents and passer-by walkers in some iconic neighborhoods of Barcelona. It seeks to investigate the urban environment of a location through complaints.
In the first stage, a portable office, containing two chairs, a small table and a sign that reads 'We listen to your complaints' moves through different parts of the neighborhood. It is installed in places with a high confluence of people. This office will be open to anyone who wants to express their dissatisfaction and any kind of complaint. The office is attended by the receiver who will listen carefully and transcribe the details of each complaint in a form that describes the place and the content of it, then the complainer signs a testimony.
After gathering an important amount of complaints and building a complaint archive, I studied the complaints and searched for patterns and categories among them. The complaints that were repeated, were transferred into posters. In it you could read the issue of complaint but you couldn’t read the name of the person who expressed it. The idea was to write anonymous complaints to later paste them in the places where complaints had been gathered, thus to make complaints an element of identification and of anonymous connection among citizens. The pasted complaint marked a correlation between the location and the issue written on it.
Public Complaint Office initially took place in 2014 in Barcelona, two times a week during three months, in front of several iconic locations: the MACBA museum, In La Rambla del Raval, in the middle of Plaza Cataluña, in front of the Town hall at Plaça St. Jaume, in Robadors, the streets of sexual workers, inside Escola Massana University and other places. In 2016 I repeated the performance in Venice, Italy at Future Landscapes Festival, and then at Worm Performance Bar in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Later in 2017 Public Complaint Office took place in the streets of Bogotá. I could confirm that the complaint culture changes from context to context.