Athens

“Headquarters”

Rebecca Camhi Gallery

In 2003, Andreas Angelidakis presented “Neen World,” reconstructions of buildings that the architect had designed on the Active Worlds platform so that Internet artists belonging to the self-branded Neen group could meet there and chat. The real estate in Active Worlds—as in the newer, more popular Second Life—tends to channel users’ McMansion fantasies; Angelidakis’s pavilions, on the other hand, blatantly disregarded real-world requirements. In this, they were like the sketches of many inventive architects, but unlike their analogues on drafting tables, they actually framed a community’s collective behavior, albeit online. This year, Angelidakis joined Angelo Plessas—another member of the lapsed Neen network, and his partner of ten years—to help build the Angelo Foundation, a project in which Plessas reuses imagery from his Web animations in performances and installations. Now Angelidakis’s architectural ideas have shaped the website www.theangelofoundationheadquarters.com, where old and new works by both artists share a scrolling gray plane beneath a dusky sky. A video capture of the website was projected at “Headquarters,” a gallery exhibition that served as a temporary center for the foundation.

“Headquarters” felt domestic, like a simulation of the studio of two artists who live and work in one home. Old chairs wrapped in gold foil, and potted plants, both real and fake, furnished the spaces between displays of sculptures and architectural models. Plessas’s pieces show a fascination with the brain’s habit of finding likenesses of faces in accidental arrangements of markings; his neon signs and clay sculptures are disembodied faces amid Angelidakis’s uninhabited buildings. In Future Is Fake, 2008, two white arrows and a red triangle form a neon grin. Two collages thinly pile cutouts of iconic shapes—stars, crowns, arrows—at points corresponding to eyes, nose, and mouth. The artist’s reconfigurations of discrete entities in paper and neon reflect his work with Flash, which he uses to code Web animations; the widely used object-oriented language manipulates two-dimensional graphic files with a series of commands that unfold over time or in response to viewers’ clicks. Angelidakis’s contributions to the exhibition also indicate origins in software. His three-dimensional prints of trapezoidal towers are nearly identical, indicating his copy-and-paste process of producing several versions from a single module.

Angelidakis’s variations with no final draft and Plessas’s rearrangements of limited elements both suggest dynamic systems. Similarly, their collaborative sculptures stand in for fluid structures: The Bank of Angelo, 2009, is a triangular stack of foam-board “Angelo money,” representative of a kind of microeconomy; Plessas’s Notice Board, 2009, bears announcements for a robot poetry reading and a cross-dressing fest that presuppose the existence of a community. The Angelo Foundation is so named not only because Plessas wanted to parody self-aggrandizement, but also because a foundation can be an exhibition space and/or a dematerialized system that subtly influences art-world processes through loans, grants, parties, and so on. This summer, the diffuse, foundation-like nature of Plessas’s and Angelidakis’s collaboration was particularly evident because of concurrent displays at Jeu de Paume in Paris—where a projection of www.theangelofoundationheadquarters.com was shown in a reading room—and at Rebecca Camhi. If in 2003 “Neen World” was a gallery representation of an online creative community, today the many simultaneous manifestations of the Angelo Foundation represent an attempt to construct a network of mutually influential events in a gallery, in a museum, and on the Internet—a personalized microcosm of the real, wired world.

Brian Droitcour