London Kunst

Existential Manifesto

Ecem Yücel is a writer and artist currently doing a PhD in English at the University of Sussex. She is based in London and works on an emerging structure of feeling called metamodernism and establishing its aesthetics in contemporary fiction, delving into various writers' oeuvres, profoundly engaging with Samuel Beckett, the notions of body, self, and contemporary digitalised existence. She express herself through harmonising writing, dancing, and acting for creative endeavours.
Experimenting with the theme of ‚persona‘, taken with Canon.

**Where to start:
I grew up in a small town on the Aegean coast of Turkey, wholly absorbed in nature and lived a very simple life. I moved to a big city when I was fourteen for boarding school, started travelling, and moved to the capital of Turkey for studying purposes later. Leaving parts and bits of my life behind, I moved to London four years ago, where I found an everlasting inspiration. I explore the sense of belonging and the notion of ‚home‘.

I continuously seek something I do not know. In this sense, I have nowhere to belong; it is an ultimate freedom reflected in creative work.

**PhD journey and creative involvement:
PhD journey has wholly altered my life in many ways. I’ve encountered existential concepts: working on body, self and contemporary existence. My curiosity about human existence led me to research body movement – I joined Gaga dance classes in London, which effectively shaped how I communicated with my body. I found a way to express the feeling of limits in creative boundaries in academia in my portfolio-ish project, ‚Existential Manifesto,‘ where I free flow, improvise, connect, and collaborate.

**Starting point:
During the first year of PhD, I sank into a low-grade depression. As the research itself was very intense and theoretical (I was working on the inner voice, the delusion of self at that time!), I started to drown in an existential void: asking myself who I was, who I would be in multiple possibilities, the personas we created, the impossibility of finding the inner self, and the bodily experience of existence. I acknowledge now that this period of my life was the time of my creative evolution. A very profound aspect of the experience of ‚existential crisis‘ is accepting that it is a creative act that requires a way to celebrate.

If you are having a period of existential crisis, if you go deeper into investigating, you may produce something remarkable out of it.

Recovering from that year, I created a space to recollect improvised thoughts on ‚Existential Manifesto‘ (a ‚portfolio-ish‘ manifesto… improvised work). It is an investigation of existential notions, very experimental; there is no structure to follow: it is a space for ideas to flow and feed our intellectual curiosity. Existential Manifesto is an open creative space for artists, writers and researchers in various disciplines to publish their existential manifestos. I aim to post the #1 issue on social media: Improvisation and authenticity and how those concepts find a voice in Ingmar Bergman’s masterwork ‚Persona‘ – I hope to form a collection of essays to be published later in the stage. In future issues, I will keep improvising… and you all are invited to share the flow with me.

**What I aim:
I would like to make a ‚manifesto‘ that we all share across the fields, a collective response to our contemporary existence. We share a collective hope for a better future; all our attempts are manifested around this view, and I hope Existential Manifesto will be a shared voice for us to understand who we are.

Ecem Yucel & Existential Manifesto – Instagram