manhole

A sound, voice and performance piece by 
Ece Canlı and Nina Jeppsson
performed at Galeria Municipal in Montemor-O-Novo, Portugal
within the 1 week artistic residency at Festival Cidade Preocupada
6 July 2016

The word MANHOLE in English means ‘a small covered opening in a paved area allowing across beneath, especially one leading to a sewer.’ It is a door that both drains the excreta, urine and dirt of the mass; and hides it underground. Through it, the surface, the façade of the world looks smooth and clean, and the shit remains invisible.

At the same time, MAN HOLE is the world itself, a vortex washing up the dirt whereas making shit out of the ‘others’. It is this hole that turned Aileen Wuornos into a lunatic executed serial killer and Valerie Solanas into a mad assaulter whore; and both of them into a Hollywood legacy. It is a place of segregation, assimilation, oppression and illusion. It creates madness and trauma. It unifies subjectivities into one entity and imposes one certain truth. It begets traumas and makes you like it, get addicted to it. It takes your past and present away and makes you live in a never-coming future. Yet it silences voices coming from underground.

This performance piece is a manifestation from the MAN HOLE, an attempt to open the door of the MANHOLE. It is to create other holes from within this vortex, to find ways to escape through silenced voices. With the methods of locating the voice in the self and each other’s bodies (both performers and audience), it aims to deal with the unmanageable traumas and many different shades of emotions, by bringing the lives of all those madwomen that were lunatic, killer, suicidal, hidden, lost. It intends to disrupt and trick the time and space of this hole. To kill the past, kill our own history, as a suicide effect. To kill the unborn future. On the contrary to the neoliberal motto of ‘finding yourself’, this piece is to forget the self, fragment the self into many pieces and personalities, into many shadows through the past, present and future. The performance intends to function as a place for the embodied voice, as the medium for a collective trip.

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During the performance, the audience met two staged bodies with miscellaneous displaced vocalities as naked voices. In the residency, the space was used to develop methods for creating performative rituals that would temporarily crack up the continuity of the hegemonic narratives we are all trapped inside–the normal. We primarily worked with our voices and with body movement, as performers with experience in voice/vocal techniques/musicality. As well the vibrations of voices offer large possibilities to awake and effect emotions. Our aim was to explore performative methods that would bring about unexpected movements, different speeds and gaps that would interrupt our fixed sonic normality.

Some of the excerpts from the development/improvisation stage: 

Photo and Video Credit: Associação Cultural de Arte e Comunicação, Oficinas do Convento