13th Gwangju Biennale — Minds Rising Spirits Tuning

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Angelo Plessas

Referring to the mental field of the Earth, the term “noosphere” was coined in the early twentieth century by French philosopher and paleontologist Teilhard de Chardin and Russian geochemist Vladimir Verdansky. The noosphere was conceived as a further evolution of the biosphere, a new layer of humankind’s planetary intellect. Because human cognition is increasingly tethered to technological development, it can be argued that any breakthrough in collective consciousness necessarily entails some synergy between life and technology. It is from this premise that Angelo Plessas launched The Noospheric Society in 2017 (noosphericsociety.com). A long-term project intended to remediate the afflictions of lives that are possessed by a technological “evil eye,” The Noospheric Society cultivates new networked forms of communal knowledge and spiritual advancement and continues Plessas’s questioning of the supposed ideals of unlimited connectivity and insistent demands to “become virtual.”

Plessas has instigated pedagogic protocols in the ruins of the sanctuary of Delphi, guided collective meditations inspired by Indo-Greek rituals on the island of Naxos, used his Athens studio as a project space to host artistic residencies and research. During his first visit to Gwangju, he led a meditation and furnished an ancient Greek elixir tweaked with Korean ingredients like soju wine and sesame leaves. Following this research trip, which offered crucial engagement with local quilting guilds and shamanic traditions, Plessas collaborated with Dodam, a shaman and former shipyard welder who taught herself unconventional forms of ritual possession and healing ceremonies, and worked to infiltrate the internet with nascent forms of “technoshamanism.” Dodam’s participation in Plessas’s propitiatory functions unfolds in an immersive installation of wearable quilted mandalas made from unique textiles that shield the wearer from the omnipresent electromagnetic radiations carried by Wi-Fi networks and telecommunications. Once retired as ceremonial vestments, the mandalas hang in the space next to video essays that remix interviews, footage of rituals and performances, and three interactive websites (lifeonthemandala.com; apocalypsemystique.com; everyoneisyou.com) that use artificial intelligence to mediate shamanism into cyberspace.

Michelangelo Corsaro