After participating in the artist residency program at Herceg Novi's Mamula Island, Angelo Plessas draws inspiration for his latest work from the wealth of sea-related and maritime symbols and stories abundant in the Adriatic Sea, with a particular focus on Kotor Bay.
Plessas' latest performance, The Talisman of the Sisterhood Portal, 2023, reflects his ongoing practice of conducting participatory, collective rituals. These rituals are designed to guide the audience through a meditative process, encouraging self-exploration and heightened social awareness. This particular ritual centers around an elixir that Plessas imagined in collaboration with the hotel's mixologists. The elixir combines traditional herbs, regional myths, and legends with the goal of "purifying bodies and bringing everybody closer," as the artist explains.
In addition to the performance itself, Plessas has conceived an entire universe of interventions and an installation that reimagines the hotel as a mandala adrift in the sea, connecting with other symbols and natural elements, which in turn inspire patterns for his work.
The first piece, Mandala System, 2023, is a quilt located in one of the spa rooms, serving as a tribute to the interconnected journey symbolizing the coexistence of humans with natural elements like the sea. Its motif draws from the composition, repetition, and multiplication of traditional symbols found on votives ('tamata') and icons from the Balkan region. The quilt is adorned with a diverse array of images, including sea waves, boats, hands, coats of arms, stars, and ancient cybernetic symbols. All these images related to healing form a collage that incorporates architectural elements of Mamula Island, which, when viewed from Google Maps, resembles a circular mandala. This series of quilts marks the artist's inspiration from board games commonly found in various spiritual retreats, intended for deeper spiritual growth. In this context, the quilt becomes a tool for consciousness, healing, and protection.
Adjacent to this piece, the audience can discover Meditation of All Beings, 2022, a guided meditation presented as a cyber folk tale emphasizing interconnectedness with the world. In this video, Plessas situates himself amidst animals, plants, and natural elements, transitioning between virtual reality and a new state of being where everything feels unified and interconnected. The imagery in this work is derived from Plessas' visualization technique used in his daily meditations. Meditation of All Beings, also delves into internet subcultures, particularly on social platforms like TikTok, symbolizing a new phase in the realm of spirituality. Recent performative trends reveal messianicexpressions where almost supernatural versions of the self-act as "ontological extensions" for salvation and purification.
His last contribution to the program is the Wave Mandala Flag, 2023 which contains three mandalas of sea wave variations. The wave is often seen not only as an emblem of renewal and transformation but also as a representation of powerful ferocity and resilience. Recently, the wave as a symbol has taken new meanings and interpretations in our interconnected lives, as the liquid element and electromagnetic waves surround us through our technological devices. Plessas used the same mandalas for a series of textile patches he created for the uniforms of Mamula Island personnel that will be worn as symbols of consciousness, healing, and protection of both natural and cybernetic realities for the duration of the artist's project.
Angelo Plessaslives and works between Athens and Kymi in Greece. His work explores the intersection of spirituality and technology, delving into a wide range of cosmologies. It activates modes of communal interconnectivity and social relations while also delving into the semiotics of ancient and cybernetic worlds. He questions the hyper-networking effects where identities are performed and mythologized, and where intense interconnectedness and isolation alternate. Plessas' activities encompass technoshamanic performances, artist residencies, self-publishing, interactive websites, quilted sculptures, neon installations and educational projects. Over the past few years, he has organized annual, weeklong gatherings of the Eternal Internet Brotherhood/Sisterhood and the Experimental Education Protocol in different remote locations worldwide.
His work has been exhibited internationally, including at the 13th Gwangju Biennale in South Korea, documenta 14 in both Kassel and Athens, The Museum ofContemporary Art in Chicago, the Jeu de Paume in Paris, the DESTE Foundation, and the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Athens. Plessasis the founder of P.E.T. Projects in Athens, a Fulbright alumnus, and the recipient of the DESTE Prize in 2015.