Maria Paschalidou is a visual artist, photographer and researcher. Relying on expanded uses of lens-based media, her artwork investigates the multifaceted relationship between politics and aesthetics. Her research includes the performativity of visual media and initiatives for participatory acts in art that challenge dichotomies such as artist–audience, image–language and theory-praxis. She has participated in numerous exhibitions in Europe, USA, Canada, Russia, Australia, and Asia and been a visiting lecturer for various academic programs in Greece and abroad. She holds a Ph.D. in Lens-based Media (De Montfort University, UK, 2018), an MFA in Photography (Columbia College Chicago, USA, 2005), and she is now a Postdoc researcher at Panteion University (Athens, 2019–2021) with the support of State Scholarships Foundation (IKY). She lives in Athens working as an art professor.
In street demonstrations, people reclaim the public space on their own terms through their embodied collective actions.
In the Semiotics of the Protest performed video, I visually examine the key significance of the body and its language for the materialization of the street protest, the vital tool by means of which people reclaim public space and activate it as a political terrain. The video is based on a performance for which I invited a volunteer dancer to “rehearse” public gestures of resistance against oppression. Challenging dominant representations of protestors as “mobs” and protestors’ bodies as irrational and uncontrollable entities, in this performed video, I visually analyse the political demonstration as choreographic tactics executed by bodies which are meaningful and purposeful and which, through their gestures, move forward to social change.