Letters from Attica

    04/09  | 16:00 |  FR
    04/09  | 17:30 |  EN
    04/09  | 19:00 |  NL
    05/09  | 16:00 |  FR
    05/09  | 17:30 |  EN
    05/09  | 19:00 |  NL
    08/09  | 16:00 |  EN
    08/09  | 16:00 |  FR
    08/09  | 17:30 |  FR
    08/09  | 19:00 |  EN

€ 10 / € 7
Dutch, French, English, Turkish

Please choose your time slot regarding to your language.

During Letters from Attica you will be led to speak. To fully enjoy the performance, make sure you wear a mask with which is easy to speak.

In conditions of solitude – as for travelers or prisoners – people have often resorted to writing letters as a means of communication with their closest ones, revealing the very sensation of being in isolation. Sam Melville has done so from the Attica prison, where he was held on charges of sabotaging public property in protest of the Vietnam war, and where he would die during the Attica prison riots in 1971. His and others' voices in similar conditions connect the sensations of loneliness and the one of determination. In her artistic works Begüm Erciyas often uses sound and instruction to accompany the spectator in an experience that is deeply solitary and yet collective. At the occasion of Every Inside Has an Outside she imagines for the first time a project for the public space, guiding each spectator both in the space of a text and in the one of the city. Multiple voices involve the throat, chest, intention, experience, feelings and the pleasure of giving a personal form to sound waves. Each spectator is a living letter, to inscribe words in public space and generate unforeseen sentences. As a first encounter with the city, Letters from Attica is a search for means to let a voice travel from one to the many.

There is an activity for children organized during the show on the 05.09. More info: Kids

Presentation: Kunstenfestivaldesarts

Concept: Begüm Erciyas
Developed with: Sara Manente, Katja Dreyer, Gaëtan Boulourde, Ayşe Orhon, Maru Mushtrieva
Live intervention: Sara Manente, Katja Dreyer, Gaëtan Boulourde, Ayşe Orhon, Bahar Temiz
Dramaturgical support: Dries Douibi
Production management: Barbara Greiner, Klein Verzet

Produced by: Kunstenfestivaldesarts
Residency support: Workspacebrussels

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From prisoners to travellers, people have endured or enjoyed solitude of many sorts. They have resorted to writing letters as a means of communication with their closests. Sam Melville has done so from the Attica high-security prison, which he entered after bombing several governmental and cooperate buildings in 1969 in protest of the Vietnam War. At Attica, he played a key role in empowering and uniting the divided camps and races of inmates in the struggle for justice and human treatment, ultimately leading to the prominent 1971 Attica prison uprising. He would be shot and killed by police during the uprising.

While outside, Sam repeatedly expressed his disappointment by others and he preferably acted alone. Once in prison, after an initial phase of isolation and despair, he soon became close to several black and Latino leaders. As his relationship with other inmates grew, his perception of what was possible at Attica changed. One day before his death, during the Attica Riots, while standing in a line of men with arms linked, he said to a negotiator: “whatever happens, tell everyone that people here are as together as I once hoped they could be on the outside.”

The text used in Letters of Attica is solely a re-composition of fragments of Sam’s letters written between 1969 and 1971 in prison.

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Begüm Erciyas was born 1982 in Ankara (Turkey). While studying molecular biology and genetics in Ankara, she was engaged in various dance projects in Turkey and became part of [laboratuar], a performing arts research and project group. Later, she studied at the Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance in Austria. She was artist-in-residence at Akademie Schloss Solitude in 2007/08, at the Villa Kamogawa/Goethe Institute Kyoto in 2014 and at the Saison Foundation Tokyo in 2017. Her past works Ballroom (2010), A Speculation (2014), Voicing Pieces (2016) and Pillow Talk (2019) have been presented at several venues and various contexts.

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