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Intervention | Alexandros Michail: The eternal fire which lights them up inside and makes them glow

Alexandros Michail

(1980), Thessaloniki, Greece

The eternal fire which lights them up inside and makes them glow


Paraphrasing a line from Dante’s Inferno for his title, Alexandros Michail 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 using a punctured, leaking sack — an endless battle to understand an object in constant flux, his own self and, through himself, the world around him. His actions also 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.

Alexandros Michail studied Philosophy, Law and Contemporary Performance at Brunel University, and Physical Theatre at the London International School of Performing Arts (LISPA). He has collaborated with Mark Storor, Station House Opera, Penny Woodcock and Bock & Vincenzi, and his personal work, from solos to large-scale performances, have been awarded, supported, funded or commissioned by numerous institutions in Greece and abroad. His work attempts to enter into a creative discourse with the hidden dynamics of domestic and public power, and investigates the construction of the self in the context of cultural, national and gender identities. It aims to unlock the unfamiliar, unfold the tremendous oddity of the ordinary and strip objects, relationships and space off from their given meanings through a process of progressive abstraction. He is interested in testing the narrative volume of silence, the embodied anxiety of stillness, the inconvenient (sometimes violent) but also comforting impact of passing from “I” to “we”.