The shadow man who walks the streets of Thessaloniki

By | May 2, 2023


The strange and silent figure that continues to wander the city talks to Parallaxi about the attitudes he has faced.

It hasn’t been long since that morning when everyone was talking about… Shadow Man who appeared one night on the streets of Thessaloniki and scared, disturbed and provoked various behaviors to passers-by or people who wanted to approach him and talk to him. him, quickly finding that this dark figure doesn’t even speak to explain to them exactly what was happening.

Time passed, the shadow man with the black spandex zentai bodysuit and his face covered continued to walk every Friday through areas of the city, but now the world has learned through the viral videos that have been spread that it is a artistic performance. At least some, because someone will always fall on him unawares.

“I didn’t expect this to go viral, but I understand why it could have happened. I think it’s a very simple idea, but it has a lot of depth and can be extended to many fields and can take on many meanings,” says Parallaxi. Alexander Michael Where is that mute figure every Friday?

This action began on April 7 and will be completed in 8 three hours until May 19 and at the same time people’s reactions are recorded. He walks the streets, sits on benches, walks through squares, enters sidewalks, buses, museums and shops, seeking to contact people and assimilate the unknown.

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

Arriving exactly in the middle of these routes, Alexandros Michael describes what he has experienced in this artistic and social experiment and what he has experienced through this action, but also the social ramifications that the behaviors of passers-by can have.

How did the idea for this work of art come about?

It was born gradually, through various images and thoughts. The central idea is the idea of ​​the shadow that we all carry and nobody wants to see it in themselves and project it to 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 is faceless also plays a part.

The absence of a face is essential for the functioning of the work. So often, in people’s reactions, I feel that precisely because I don’t have a face, 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’m a nobody, and anyone can do whatever they want with me. Of course, I’m not saying that everyone reacts in the same way, but it’s a reaction that I see every time.

What were the reactions you had all this time of “Shadow Man”?

There are many, positive and negative, but all of them are of special interest. At first no one knew me and it was a surprise for everyone. After the news was widely circulated, there were many people who talked to me. Let’s say the other day, I sat on a bench and an old lady was also sitting and I was waiting for some reaction, but she didn’t even look at me. But I insisted on looking at her and when she realized she told me “we’ve seen you on the news”. On the other hand, the most aggressive reactions I found were also quite a few. I have received threatening and aggressive behavior bordering on intimidation. Fortunately, no one has used violence against me, but they have done several things. From spitting ostentatiously in front of me to honking at me, rolling down the window and insulting me when I cross a crosswalk. And when I passed by the market I felt that they were agitated and I heard some “what are you doing comrade”. I think the shadow invites whoever faces this figure to decide in a fraction of a second with which part of himself to react because the first reaction is always instinct. 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 experiment

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

Did it scare you when you had to go outside?

I was worried because I don’t know how everyone will react when I come out like this, but no, I wasn’t afraid.

What have you taken as an artist from all this?

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

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

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