Alexandros Michail | PORTFOLIO
Through my practice I attempt to enter into a creative discourse with the hidden dynamics of domestic and public power and investigate the construction of the self in the context of cultural, national and gender identities in order to reveal the inconvenient (even violent) but also comforting impact of passing from “I” to “we”.
Socially Engaged Work
Contact / 30 201 4 Nea paralia, Thessaloniki, GR Thessaloniki 201 4: European Youth Capital City Public intervention / Street performance celebrating youth and diversity Link to an extract from c. Kyriazidis documentary following the process (Eng. subtitles): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fG9-T7rffDw A participatory project with members of the LGBTQ community, young immigrants, hard of hearing, former drug users, students of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, artists and mental health professionals. Over a period of 3 months using theatre, drawing and music a group of people of different backgrounds and languages worked together overcoming the obstacles of communication and the diversities of widely varied life experiences to create a hub for equality, integration and expressive freedom and claim the public space creating a street performance celebrating diversity.
Supported by the General Secretariat for Youth of the Ministry of National Education and Religious Affairs and The Municipality of Thessaloniki. Created in collaboration with Vioma Mental Health Association and in partnership with the National Institute for Deaf People, the Alternative Therapeutic Program for Addicted Individuals (ARGO), LGBT rights collective â€œHomophoniaâ€? and the Association for the Social Support of Youth (ARSIS) through the Shelter for the Temporary Stay of Minors.
Into the Light 201 7 1 0th primary school, Kastoria, GR Participatory art project created in one of Greeceâ€™s most remote and deprived areas Commissioned and produced by Spasmeno Rodi Cultural Associatio Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DzzG6MK1 nq4&feature=youtu.be
A group of nine local residents of a wide age spectrum worked together under my directions over a three months period through a complex and intimate creative process to transform their personal stories into a powerful promenade performance with arts installations, music, drawings personal writing and live performances. An unprecedented for the area experience which captured the audienceâ€™s imagination.
Enriched with over a hundred other adults’ and childrens’ own writing and drawings, the performance was followed by creative workshops and discussions with the public around the themes emerged: Sense of belonging, freedom of expression, the urge to leave whatever doesn’t let you be yourself, the search of a higher purpose in life, the battles with ourselves and the people who love us.
Representation 201 2
Argos Orestiko, GR Public ceremony to commemorate the town's liberation Public commission
A hundred local residents of all ages and backgrounds collaborated for this ceremonial centennial to create a poetic reenactment of their own townâ€™s liberation to be witnessed by thousands.
Old and young, past and present, participants and audience reflected on historical memory and reimagined collective identity in an archetypal and uncanny celebration of rebirth.
Commissioned by the Municipality of Argos Orestiko. Supported by the General Administration of Western Macedonia. Created in partnership with local cultural foundations, associations and clubs.
What Remains 201 6 Installation at Mount Hortiatis and video Thessaloniki Goethe Institute, GR Group excibition "Light Thickens" Documented in Lydia Konsta's film "Light Thickens" Extract from the documentary film following the installation making and the workshop: (Eng. subtitles) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxfzZAGtaV8&feature=youtu.be
In 201 6, with the initiative of The Greek German Fund for the Future I was selected among other Greek artists to participate in a research week in Germany regarding the Nazi crimes during WW2.
Later that year, inspired by our interaction with Greek communities affected by the Nazis we created artworks exhibited in Thessaloniki Goethe Institute in the group exhibition Light Thickens. What Remains explored how the trauma from its past still shapes Hortiatis modern collective identity.
Within the project I collaboratedwith systemic psychotherapist Anastasia Kouliakioti to design andfacilitate â€˜Tranforming traumaâ€™, a creative workshop which offeredthe other artists an opportunity to reflect on their own personal processes through working with trauma.
Funded by the Foreign Office of Federal Republic of Germany through the Greek German Fund for the Future. Supported by Thessaloniki Goethe Institute and the Municipalities of Thessaloniki and Pylaia - Hortiatis. Created in partnership with Vioma Groups Mental Health Association and the General Consulate of Germany in Thessaloniki.
The Eternal Fire Which Lights Them up Inside And Makes Them Glow 201 6 Group exhibition AS ONE Benaki Museum, Athens, GR Long duration solo performance Commisioned and produced by NEON + MAI (Marina Abramovic Institute) on the occasion of AS ONE Curated by Marina Abramovic, Paula Garcia and Serge Le Borgne Video with English subtitles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_inEvqfT32E&t=1 9s
Paraphrasing a line from Dante’s Inferno for his title the artist seeks meaning through a physically exhausting and spiritually demanding activity that is repetitious and, in itself, devoid of meaning. Free will, the search for root cause and for purpose, the achievement of progress – all are set against the futility of fruitless physical work.
Labouring under the weight of time itself, the artist transfers tonnes of sand for eight hours – six days. An endless battle to understand an object in constant flux, his own self and, through himself, the world around him. His actions transform the landscape around him, leaving traces of sand wherever he passes. A somatic exploration of the idea that labour and the need for meaning is the frictious point of contact between humankind and the world.
Piece for 2 201 5 Winner of the PANPHYS Award Invited to many theatre and performance festivals in Greece and abroad Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3LYC1 yQn1 KU&feature=youtu.be
How do we generate and convey meaning? To look (Latin: specere) is to interpret. To look yourself into The Other is to reflect upon your own self. “Piece for 2” is a mirror (Latin: speculum) within a mirror. Reflected by the spectators who seat in the round reflecting one another, the performers mirror each other and move in space in complete silence in a physically challenging exploration of human relations for two bodies and the space between. Time and again they stay still and look at each other. Keeping the action to the absolutely essential after layers upon layers of abstractions, “Piece for 2” challenges the very space between the spectator and the spectacle itself, in a relentless examination of the very act of looking as the performers and the onlookers are restlessly speculating for meaning.
“(...) In a theatre universe where language rules aiming at our verbal, namely our conscious thought processes, everything has been said and analyzed. (...) ‘Piece for 2’ is an hour long non-verbal performance with antirealistic scenic actions stripped off words or music, fancy light design, or conventional realistic representation; stripped entirely of any effect of illusion or any intention to impress. The only means of expression is the never stopping movement which sets in motion our own subconscious and activates our primordial, ontogenetic visual thinking, offering a positive way towards reinventing theatre. ‘Piece for 2’ is a fecund surprise”. Katerina Diakoumopoulou O Anagnostis
“(...) ‘An elegy to human relations. Two people come together, clash, change in space and time and endlessly reform themselves via interacting with one another. (…) A never ending game, a perpetual cycle in the center of which lies the unexplored, fluid and multi-layered space between; created by union and conflict and by their ways of corroding one another. Due to the tense atmosphere and the tremendous expressivity of the performers we follow effortlessly the gestural language and we really sense the ‘pure and raw’ forces that govern all human relationships”. Evi Minou, Rejected Magazine
Fragment 201 6 Action Field Kodra, Thessaloniki, GR For the group exhibition Mind The Gap Curated by Maria Kenanidou
A testimony on intimacy and trust. Two people using two chairs must travel across the space to reach a table, their final destination. Only, they are not allowed to step on the floor. And they are blindfolded.
Disorientated and balancing precariously on uncertain grounds, they constantly and silently negotiate the space around them and between them as they work together to accomplish the mission.
Creating socially engaged work with artist Mark Storor
The Barometer of My Heart Dir. by Mark Storor
201 5 Sir Ludwig Guttman Health and Wellbeing Centre, London, UK
The Barometer of My Heart explored the rich diversity of male experience, bringing experiences previously kept in the shadows into the light. Still and moving image, music and animation, live performance, science and sound combined to create an intimate reimagining of masculinity today. Artist Mark Storor spent over three years leading creative workshops with men in religious, military, sports and corporate settings, and researching with men attending erectile dysfunction clinics. Based on this material, he then guided a team of international artists to create a public performance / installation set in working day clinic.
"Storor is a genius at excavating lived experience and showing it as staged metaphor" Lyn Gardner, The Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/stage/201 5/sep/1 0/the-penis-barometer-of-heart-and-head-markstorer
"A disturbing and raw exploration of masculinity, potency and its constant companion, impotency." Louisa Dunnigan, Erotic Review http://eroticreviewmagazine.com/reviews/thebarometer-of-my-heart/
"A bold and daring piece that will be remembered by any who view it. Steph J. Watkins, A Younger Theatre http://www.ayoungertheatre.com/review-thebarometer-of-my-heart-sir-ludwig-guttmannhealth-and-wellbeing-centre/
Produced by Anna Ledgard in association with Artsadmin. Made in collaboration with Everton FC Community Foundation, FACT Veterans in Practice Group, Sir Ludwig Guttmann Health and Wellbeing Centre and St. Georgeâ€™s Hospital, Tooting. Funded by Wellcome Trust and supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.
For The Best
dir. by Mark Storor 201 0 Gostin Building, Liverpool, UK
Î‘n imaginative and creative exploration of a familyâ€™s experience of living with renal disease inspired by and created with children and adults in Dialysis, teachers, parents, primary school children, artists and performers. For The Best explored how individual testimony could be the starting point for making theatre which articulated and captured the essence of patientsâ€™ experiences.
Both a highly regarded performance and a powerful vehicle to raise public awareness of the experience of living with chronic illness, For the Best was accompanied by talks, a master class and a symposium and involved 60 primary school children as performers alongside a professional cast.
"Artist Mark Storor has created a world upside down with a cast who perform wonders. (…) What the piece does, mainly, is capture what it’s like to be under extreme emotional stress when almost nothing needs to be said because everything is only a heartbeat away from being too much." Dominic Cacendish, The Telegraph http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/theatre/theat re-reviews/81 43675/For-the-Best-Gostin-BuildingLiverpool-review.html
"There was an uncanny sense that you weren't just watching a performance but almost seeing something channeled." Lyn Gardner, The Guardian http://www.theguardian.com/stage/201 0/nov/1 5 /for-the-best-mark-storor-interview
Commissioned by Culture Liverpool on behalf of Liverpool City Council for Liverpool’s Year of Health and Wellbeing. Produced by Anna Ledgard and Artsadmin. Created in partnership with Liverpool City Council through Culture Liverpool, The Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust, Unity theatre, Matthew Arnold Primary School and Liverpool Primary Care Trust. Funded by a Wellcome Trust Arts Award, Liverpool City Council through Culture Liverpool, Arts Council England and Liverpool Primary Care Trust. First created in collaboration with the Unicorn Theatre, London
Photo credits Markos Ntemkas: p.1 , 26 Christos Kyriazidis: p. 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 1 2, 1 3, 1 6, 1 7, 1 8 Alexandros Michail: p.1 0, 1 1 Natalia Tsoukala: p. 1 5 Babis Alexiadis: 1 9 Stephen King: p. 21 , 22, 23, 24, 25
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