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*SHORTLISTED* A Forgotten Gray Wall

Digital Photography

Yiorgos Michael

Miami, USA

Yiorgos Michael

Part of the project: "A Gray Wall"
Project statement:
The core of the human condition is identity, and its uniqueness is considered a threat to the heteronormative patriarchy. Those following social norms are rewarded, those defying them are exorcised. The rules of conformity are clear from early on. Look no further than a playground and observe how children adopt society’s stereotypes. And from that young age, the erasure of identity commences since no human is alike and even toddlers know that the price of inclusion is conformity.

In this project (executed on my balcony under the watchful eyes of neighbors) I explore the struggle between identity and conformity to social norms. The process of conforming starts with the erasure of personal features and adoption of “expected” behavioral and physical attributes. Clothing and bodily manipulations provide the layers and masks to hide identity and assist assimilation with the dominant culture. This endeavor is doomed since it cannot silence the knowledge that no manipulation alters the soul’s true essence. The alterings only ignite an inner struggle to rid the skin that doesn’t shed. It’s a dance with each step inflicting a new wound without healing the old wounds. It’s a dance oscillating from extreme gyration to stasis, from fighting to conceding. Gradually, a belief is formed dictating metamorphosing into a pristine white wall, dimensionless, featureless. But life is life, and the wall turns out to be gray, rough, and utterly disappointing. By then, old age sets in with the fear of insufficient time to reverse it all. But at that point, after so much pondering, like Cavafy’s Old Man who was deceived by Prudence, all fall asleep in the arms of oblivion.


$5000 (5 + 1AP)





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