Angelo Plessas

Born (1974) in Athens, where he lives and works. He studied Computer Design. Plessas’ main body of work consists of websites. Usually focusing on the theme of identity, he fuses ancient and modernist iconography. These pieces become characters and portraits, while some other times they become experiments of colour and form. In 2007 he founded the multi-disciplinary Angelo Foundation. Recent solo exhibitions: The Angelo Foundation School of Music, National Museum of Contemporary Art (Athens, 2011); Angelo Plessas: Selected Works, Triennale Bovisa Museum (Milan, 2011); The Angelo Foundation Headquarters (with Andreas Angelidakis), Jeu De Paume (Paris, 2009); All Day Doing Nothing, Yama (Istanbul, 2007). Recent group exhibitions: Marathon Marathon, Acropolis Museum (Athens, 2010); Splendid Isolation, 2nd Athens Biennial (2009); Straylight Cavern, Cell Project Space (London, 2009); Her(His)tory, Museum of Cycladic Art (Athens, 2007); Mulher Mulheres, SESC Paolista Museum (Sao Paolo, 2007); In Present Tense. Young Greek Artists, National Museum of Contemporary Art (Athens, 2007); III Valencia Bienial (2005).

 

Monument to Internet Hookups

A space of open-source unity

My work is positioned in and around the internet. I use the internet to create websites as places where we can imagine meaning and experience objects, the same way we can admire a sculpture in a public space. This becomes particularly urgent at a time when through living part of our lives online, we question and often blur what is private or public. So visiting a website can become as public as visiting a traditional monument. I believe everything we live now is always virtual and always real. There is no distinction anymore. At the same time I am fascinated by traditional monuments because -as symbols- they engage us with nostalgic tension. Until the first half of the 20th century monuments were mostly destined to function as points of glorification for national and religious symbols. Now living in the post-internet era of fluid identity and fast social transformation, a new kind of sovereignty is being embodied by two “monuments” of communication: Facebook and Twitter. So much integrated into our lives, these two networks play an ambiguous anthropocentric role. For some they represent the democratic principles of online activism such as freedom, directness and collectiveness, but for some others they are responsible for sabotaging privacy. Recently these two networks played a victorious role as radical means of organizing political change in the Middle East. Since then, there’s been a big debate about freedom on the internet and internet networks are the new shields against totalitarianism.

Personally I started “living” on different internet networks back in the late 90’s as I was experiencing a new way of communication promoted mostly by the gay subculture. A new term was born, the “Internet hookups”, meaning: meetings taking place in real time, in real place after previous online conversations. One of my favorite essays, “Entropy and the New Monuments” by the artist Robert Smithson, states: “…If time is a place, then innumerable places are possible”. This statement perhaps justifies my thought of crashing internet reality and “terrestrial” one - if really these networks multiply its importance.

My desire to create a place where borders and walls between people collapse is shown in the Monument to Internet Hookups. The project started in 2009 and aimed to connect people with same ideals about sexuality and human rights. Its first version is permanently established at Flisvos Park, after I presented it in Athens in collaboration with the city’s Pride and Biennale. Since then I’ve designed it to be presented in other cities too. For the Thessaloniki Biennale, the Monument continues to glorify physical encounters and aims to act as an apparatus of collective participation through impromptu events, readings, etc. This is staged with a skeleton pyramid structure -a popular symbol in internet semiotics too- that stands as an open wifi spot. It is placed in a designated area with a distinct graphic style surrounded by seats at the port of Thessaloniki.

Angelo Plessas

Photos

Monument to Internet Hookups, 2011, mixed media, 7m x 7m, Courtesy of the artist

Untitled (12th Istanbul Biennial), 2011 Biennale de Lyon