The Angelo Foundation School of Music is the most recent activity of the Angelo Foundation, an imaginary organization created by the artist Angelo Plessas. With the works he produces within the context of the Angelo Foundation, Angelo Plessas investigates the social aspect of the Internet, and to that end he often transposes Internet behaviours and social conventions to actual space, minimizing or bypassing the intervention of technology. The Angelo Foundation, in its announcements and manifestos, presents itself as an institution embodying all the virtues of the free and open Internet, maintaining at the same time, as the stereotypic Internet organization, a structured centred on its founder. Since the announcement of its establishment in 2007, at the exhibition In Present Tense held at the National Museum of Contemporary Art, the Angelo Foundation has accomplished a number of its initial goals, such as, among other things, the erection of a monument to successful Internet dating (Monument to Internet Hookups, 2009), the issuing of a banknote for emotional exchanges (We give you money, We want your love, 2008), and the presentation of the foundation’s headquarters on the Internet (The Angelo Foundation Headquarters, 2009). To these is now added The “Angelo Foundation” School of Music, a hybrid installation that combines web pages, printed and video recorded material, and objects which Angelo Plessas has found or created through the Internet. As a temporary site for the realization of the organization’s activities, the installation also features a series of workshops-performances, in which the artist, together with a number of guests, engages in musical and poetic actions.
The central feature of the installation is the three web pages that have been set up for The “Angelo Foundation” School of Music. At the web addresses EgoAllegro.com, AnimaCapella.com and TempoCrescendo.com, as well as on the PC screens of the installation, the viewers can see three Flash pages which look like faces, engineering drawings, or eccentric “emoticons”. These images consist of schematized musical or spiritual symbols, such as music notes and staves, Jewish menorahs, Buddhist mandalas, as well as “rotoreliefs”, Marcel Duchamp’s characteristic circular disks. Any mouse activity on the web pages randomly activates a note from a pre-selected group of piano, flute and harp sounds. This approach to music composition, reminiscent of the “canned chance” element in the compositional methods of Marcel Duchamp, John Cage, and the Fluxus artists, turns the viewers into performers of an open-ended piece of aleatory music. In this case, the objective is, beyond the interpretation of a musical piece, the establishment of a system for viewer participation and collaboration. The interactive element, which is accompanied by an audio result, transposes the interaction from the screen and the online world to the actual space of the exhibition, transforming the usually lonely activity of web surfing into a social experience between the museum visitors.
The school of music comes full circle with the organization of music workshops held in its premises. Aiming at the participants’ collaboration, the courses held as part of the “Angelo Foundation” School of Music are in a lecture or workshop format and are entitled “Sound Meditation”, “Sound Fertility”, and “Robot Poetry Reading”. For the workshop’s duration, Angelo Plessas, by making use of the installation elements, with the help of invited guests as well as of the audience, activates the School of Music, each time in a different manner, and transposes to actual space the ludic, participatory, collaborative, and arbitrary spirit that characterizes the Internet.
Curator of the exhibition “The Angelo Foundation School of Music”
Collections Division / Department of Photography and New Media
National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens