by Elisa Camporesi, Giorgia Ciccarelli and Elisa Inghisciano. Cover image: Angelo Plessas, Noospheric Mask (Authenticity), 2020. Courtesy of the artist.
I’MF: Hello Angelo, thank you for having accepted our invitation. We would like to start our conversation by asking how your interest in textiles and technology started at the beginning of your career and how it evolved with time.
AP: I was always drawn to technology, even long before I consciously became an artist. I was constantly feeling some strange mystical and metaphysical connection with technology. I think mysticism and technology share many things; for example, we humans, even with minimal input of new information, can reveal new wonders and sensations to the Universe.
I started working with websites as art pieces around 2000, when the Internet was not considered an art form.
I was intrigued by the clash between immaterial and physical, the way you could experience art or even own an artwork. It was an exciting time because you could dive into a new world.
A bit later, I started exploring how this mindset has shaped our lives by working with other forms than websites.
I started doing installations, neons, and even organising artists’ gatherings in faraway places, blurring or expanding the boundaries between immaterial and physical, between connectivity and communion. Then at some point, I got so burnt out from working with screens and was desperate to work on something quite physical, so I chose quilting to heal myself from technology. But then quilts became part of my techno-shamanic approach, so everything I do is a piece of one puzzle.
I’MF: You often describe yourself as a “techno-shaman”. In the film The Price of Everything (2018), Jerry Saltz said art is probably no longer necessary than religion. What is your point of view about this hypothetical mystical triangle composed of art-religion-technology? Should fashion be part of this sequence?
AP: Throughout history, most human cultures have embraced technology with some near-messianic awe, and they express this with rituals building up new conceptual and aesthetic narratives and mythologies. It’s quite obvious that the way people were depicted through the arts is also how they dressed, and fashion was always a part of this form of expression.
Fashion and technology can also be art if used outside the usual norms. And, of course, there is this famous quote by Oscar Wild that says, “Religion is the fashionable substitute for belief”.
I’MF: We are very curious about your recent collaboration with Acne Studios. How did the dialogue with the brand start? What inspired you in the creation of the “magical patches”?
AP: The dialogue started when Thomas Persson, the creative director of Acne Papers, came to my studio in Athens and saw my quilts. He suggested it would be great to do something for the magazine. We did an extensive interview, which materialised into this capsule line. The collection is built out of my Noospheric Society (http://noosphericsociety.com/#/), a project that creates new forms of community through a new collective consciousness finding the hidden connections between technology and new forms of spirituality.
I created different Noospheric tees, jackets, sweatshirts, and one vestment for the rituals, clothes that bring new consciousness and energies. The line was launched in April with a special event/ritual on Malibu hills in Los Angeles. All the symbols in this collaboration are a mix of all the things that bridge contemporary shamanism, cybernetics, and Internet culture. The symbols are talismans and energy symbols for both online and offline protection.
I’MF: To conclude, which are the 3 bridge words in both the Acne studios brand identity and your research? Can you please comment on them?
AP: I would say energy, experimentation, and stance. These are essential elements in my research and my feeling about Acne Studios’ approach. I believe you can change your consciousness by changing your clothes. Wearing something can lead to a greater spiritual drive or change. But as simple as this example, when you’re feeling down, doesn’t it give you a fresh new perspective to put on something that lifts your spirits?
I’MF: Do you have any advice for the young artists and designers of 2022?
AP: I was lucky enough to meet impresario and artist Malcolm McLaren. He once told me that, as a young artist back then, I should always apply the 3 S’s: being Subversive, Sexy and Stylish.
Angelo Plessas is a Greek-Italian visual artist. He lives and works between Athens and Kymi, Greece.
Elisa Camporesi, Giorgia Ciccarelli and Elisa Inghisciano area Undergraduate students in Fashion Management at Istituto Marangoni Firenze.