PhD project

”Voice under” by Ester Martin Bergsmark

Researcher: Ester Martin Bergsmark

”Voice under” is a PhD project by Ester Martin Bergsmark. Ester Martin is a PhD student in film and media.

A common feature of filmmaking is the voice over, an authoritative narrative voice that dictates the storyline. My presentation will offer a counterweight: the voice under, a narration technique that departs from the idea of an insulated, independent human subject. 

The explorations that have brought me to the voice over are motivated by the impossibility of portraying truly queer experiences beyond the deeply anchored gender binary through simple representation. Instead, the filmmaker must use a greater register of sensations to speak of what is just beyond the border of what we think we know.

Life is repugnant, because a messy dirtiness is the very precondition for life. Life is constituted from that which crawls and creeps. Throughout my work, “low” beings like pigeons, snails, ticks, and cockroaches, the types of creatures generally saddled with epithets like disgusting, have played an important role. I’m curious about the way these small beings have come to carry so many human projections of abhorrence and fear. Where does the antipathy come from? 

A voice under is a voice from the many layers of earth—the lives that have been lived and been silenced, and the lives that are possible thanks to them. Both a choir and a singular, focused voice, it is a voice for that which we don’t have words for yet. An inner stadium, where thousands of voices rumble both far away and deep inside of you.