**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.
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