Every year, somewhere around the world, Angelo Plessas asks an artist a question. Usually filmed, sometimes audio recorded, he holds a phone up to their face and delves, deep and incisive, into an observation about their character, and it’s eerily, surprisingly, appropriate.
Once, on the shores of the Dead Sea, Angelo asked me what I had against the internet. Paranoid, insecure and pretty depressed at the time, I’d taken to disguising my identity online behind pen names and insisting no one take my photo during the 10 days on a West Bank resort bordering Jordan, Israel and Palestine. I had consciously disconnected from the internet, ironically, at The Eternal Internet Brotherhood (since adding a binary ‘Sisterhood’). It was the 2014 edition of a nomadic residency, where a number of invited and ‘internet-aware’ artists, technologists, writers and ‘other’ congregate for a time in a space with spiritual and mythical qualities.
The next time Angelo would ask me a question, it would be in the neoclassical fake ruins of Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe in Kassel three years later. It was a month before documenta 14, the institutional event that was funding this smaller, colder, iteration of a self-started project that has included meetings by different people, from different walks of life in a part of Greece, Mexico, Italy, Sri Lanka. This time there would be a storm brewing while my slightly sassy answer on camera was interrupted by soft rain, a crack of thunder and Angelo’s Pomeranian, Lupo, barking. He’d asked something about what I thought of the concept of ‘free time.’ I never have enough of it and I’d been spending most of it at Lebensbogen Commune in my room working. Angelo is a leader and a community-builder, and with being a leader and a community-builder there’s a certain level of detached observation necessary to see how people can work with, or, as the case may be, against each other.
In launching the latest update to The Eternal Internet Brotherhood/Sisterhood website, with contributions from 2017 participants Kolbeinn Hugi, Andreas Angelidakis, Miriam J Carranza, Caspar Heinemann, Luca Pozzi, Imaad Majeed and yours truly, Angelo here gives insight into the past five years of #ETINTERBRO. It’s an abridged version of a longer piece to publish in the project’s first print publication to come.
Anafi Island, Greece, 2012
Pirate utopias of the past and data heavens of the future
“Anafi was inhabited by pirates in medieval times because it was an island with open seas to the east and the west, and it was on the edge of the Cyclades. There is a huge rock/cliff, which is standing as a portal on the edge of the island, appearing from the archipelago like a new discovered country, it’s tip covered by clouds.”
New modes of experience: computing naked outdoors.
Las Pozas, Mexico, 2013
Video game library meets peer-to-peer / friend-to-friend
“Las Pozas is the surrealist garden of Sir Edward James, a British socialite and wannabe artist. The garden is probably his only masterpiece, in the 40s he was inviting his surrealist friends to hang out in the lush inland jungle. The journey is long and dangerous.”
New modes of experience: Projecting night time movies on the jungle bushes.
Dead Sea, Palestine, 2014
Electrically charged particles versus electrical theology.
“The Dead Sea is the most eerie place I have ever been; super energizing particles of salt floating in the air in the least elevated part of the world. No birds, no fish, just some weird animal echo from the Masada rocks. Your vision disappears into the shades of brown and blue.”
New modes of experience: Swimming at night while knowing it’s surveilled by the Israeli or Jordanian army.
Ghosts or avatars; holograms or pixels?
“It’s no wonder Dante Alighieri spent his exile here but also Bianca is the welcoming ghost; feeling worried and restless but amazing hosts and magic food make you forget the unfriendly WiFi, thick stone walls and the basement dungeon. No nightmares and unexpected sound sleep.”
The end of the world is an accepted fact in here.
New modes of experience: Sonar bells and singing loud as the most essential way of communicating.
Rock of Sigirya, Sri Lanka, 2016
Orgonic transmuter and elephant electroshocks
“We stayed at Back of Beyond, a tree house compound in the most dense Sri Lankan Jungle. The Airbnb pages says no check-in after 6pm, as wild elephants roam the compound’s nearby lagoons, breaking the electrical pillars and cables. Elephants and rain make electricity a scarcity.”
New modes of experience: Fireflies navigating us to our treehouses at night.
Transgender occultism and Noospheric realness
“This is the first time an edition has taken place in a temperature below 18℃. It’s late April and still cold. The first day coincides with Walpurgis night. In and around the commune is full of women who look more like witches performing a ritual that reminds of us something like Germanic pagan revival, very feministic.”**