In his work, Angelo Plessas creates psychogeography through the virtual reality of the internet. He names places on the web where you can come across interactive portraits of his friends or versions of himself (AroundMyself.com, 2001, FaunaMagica. com 2016). Sometimes these are talismans to protect us from technology (EtherealSunrise.com 2015). These singular domain-name titles make them unique online objects but simultaneously become “territories” in which one can imbue with meaning and see as objects we can experience, similar to the way we can admire a sunset or a sculpture in a public square.
In his work, Plessas creates spaces where people can meet offline (Monument to Internet Hook-ups, 2009). He organizes gatherings with Internet friends in remote locations of the world. One of these gatherings explores issues of our post-technological life, such as the re-evaluation of life in urban areas and spiritual re-connections with nature and antiquity (Eternal Internet Brotherhood/Sisterhood, 2012-17). Another project was a weeklong series of workshops focusing on education through experiences, using local riddles and case studies such as a volcano or a World War 2 spy (Experimental Education Protocol 2016-ongoing). Sometimes these gatherings take the form of shorter pop-up events like the “The Noospheric Society” which merges concepts of biosphere and cyberspace in which participants experience new forms of contemplation in an environment in which one experiences a total digital detox.
Recently, Plessas has been “utilizing” the Internet to make real craft such as quilt making. The process of constructing a quilt feels similar to making a work online and vice versa, each one made from small pieces to form a whole. Quilts also historically provide a metaphorical space of discourse for many issues that revolve around the artist’s work such as identity, gender, community and freedom of speech. More recently, Plessas has developed an interest in the ambiguous approach of spirituality with technology using sustainable materials and fabrics and obstructing electromagnetic fields.
Plessas creates work for the now, focusing on forming networks between the offline and the online, hence making us understand aspects of both conditions. In turn, generating new ways of relating to both. For instance, we observe how a physical gathering of people who has only known each other online. We see how they react with one other, what works they make, what they won’t do. When a website is projected in a real space, we usually observe a solitary object being interacted with in a public space. When it is a monument generated through online communication, we understand that cities are just places we “scroll” and “click” through- massive multi-user environments full of precarious information. When the artist toggles between a quilt and a website, the boundaries between virtual and tangible materials as well as gender and labour stereotypes blur together.
Plessas recently presented his work in Documenta 14 in Athens and Kassel, curated by Adam Szymzyck (2017) and in “I was Raised by the Internet” at MCA Chicago (2018).