The shadow man who walks the streets of Thessaloniki

The shadow man who walks the streets of Thessaloniki


The strange silent character who continues to wander the city tells Parallaxis about the attitudes he faces

Not long ago that morning everyone was talking about the man in the shadows who appeared one night in the streets of Thessaloniki and frightened, confused and caused various behaviors to passers-by or people who wanted to approach him and talk to him, quickly finding that this dark figure didn’t even speak to explain to them exactly what was going on.

Time passed, the shadow man in the black spandex zentai bodysuit and face covering continued to walk every Friday through neighborhoods around town, but now the world has learned through the viral videos that have been broadcast that it is an artistic performance. At least some, because always an unsuspecting person will come across it.

“I didn’t expect this to go viral, but I understand why it might have happened. I think it’s a very simple idea, but it has a lot of depth and can extend to many areas and can take on many meanings,” says Parallaxi Alexander Michael where is this silent number every friday.

This action started on April 7th and will end in 8 three hours until May 19th and at the same time people’s reactions are recorded. He walks the streets, sits on the benches, crosses the squares, between the sidewalks, the buses, the museums and the shops, seeking to enter into contact with people and to assimilate the unknown.

The performance “24 hours in the city | LIKE A SHADOW | Thessaloniki” is an attempt to investigate the relationship between the city and the anoikeio, as indicated in the relevant information of the action.

Arrived exactly in the middle of these journeys, Alexandros Michael describes what he experienced in this artistic and social experience and what he experienced through this action, but also the social ramifications that the behavior of passers-by can have.

How did the idea for this work come about?

She was born gradually, through various images and thoughts. The central idea is the idea of ​​the shadow that we all carry and that no one wants to see in themselves and project it on others. I ended up being the shadow everyone wants to cast their own shadow on and it’s all interesting.

I think the fact that your shadow has no face also plays an important role.

The absence of a face is at the heart of the functioning of the piece. Very often in people’s reactions I feel like it’s precisely because I don’t have a face that they feel free to act on me in ways they wouldn’t. if I had a face. I think you can also think about the social ramifications of I have no face. In other words, I have no social status, I am nobody and anyone can do whatever they want with me. Of course, I’m not saying that everyone reacts the same way, but it’s a reaction I see every time.

What were the reactions you got all this time from “Shadow Man”?

There are many, positive and negative, but all of them are of particular interest. At first, nobody knew me and it was a surprise for everyone. After the news spread widely, many people talked to me. Let’s say the other day I sat on a bench and an old lady was also sitting on it and I was waiting for a reaction, but she didn’t even look at me. But I insisted on looking at her and when she realized it, she said “we saw you on the news”. On the other hand, the most aggressive reactions I encountered were also quite numerous. I received threatening and aggressive behavior bordering on intimidation. Fortunately, no one used violence against me, but they did various things. From ostentatiously spitting in front of me to honking my horn, rolling down the window and swearing at me when I cross a pedestrian crossing. And when I passed in front of the market I felt that they were agitated and I heard “what are you doing my friend”. I think the shadow invites whoever faces this figure to decide in a fraction of a second which part of himself to react with because the first reaction is always instinctive. I think it challenges the boundaries between instinct and culture.

It may be an artistic work, but we see that it is also a social experience

Yes it is. What if someone walks around without a face and when people come across something unfamiliar to them. Something mysterious or neutral. My shadow is a featureless, genderless figure that disrupts the order of things.

Did it scare you when you had to go out on the street?

I was worried because I don’t know how everyone is going to react when I go out like that, but no, I wasn’t scared.

As an artist, what did you take away from all this?

I see the city from a completely different point of view. It’s like seeing Thessaloniki again. It’s a different city. Also, I experienced it at very different times than I had ever experienced before. Let’s say the three to six was a tragic route because most of the city was deserted and I was driving through a ghost town. You know, the city has life all the time, it just brings it together in different places. In addition, the energy available to each part of the city has an interest. Let’s say that in Ladadika it’s very different from the one he has in the morning.

*The show “24 hours in the city | LIKE A SHADOW | Thessaloniki” takes place within the framework of the Open City Theater 2023 organized by the Directorate of Culture and Tourism of the Municipality of Thessaloniki.

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