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Plexus International 1986
The Storyline of the Plexus Art Opera Eve, 1986, New York

On 27 February 1986, the new Plexus Art Opera, named Eve: Escape for Donna Purgatorio from 1986 Anno Domini by the Multinational Chain Gang of Dowtown New York, was staged at C.U.A.N.D.O.  Rife with symbolism, the story line of this art opera was about the journey of an art slave ship, on its travel through art history, escaping from the contemporary New York ArtWorld. Its aim was to draw more public attention on the real estate gentrification of the Lower East Side, leaving artists and the community without working and living places. It was addressed to support the L.A.N.D. homesteaders community effort and to sustain the activities of C.U.A.N.D.O. as a cultural civic community center. 

Eve was performed by a cast of 220 musicians, poets, actors, dancers, videomakers, performers and visual artists. It featured many prominent figures on the N.Y. downtown avant-garde scene. It was a spectacular event open to the public only one hour, with again only a 99 cents admission fee.

Butch Morris was again the maestro, Sandro Dernini acted as artistic director. Willem Brugman conceived and directed the theatrical modular construction of the art slaves boat journey, Ray Kelly was the captain. The choreography was performed by Alpha-Omega 1-7 Theatrical Dance Company, The lighting was made by Michael Warren Powel and the documentation by Albert Di Martino. The poetic organization was provided by David Boyle and Wess Power, while the dramaturgy by Stephen DiLauro.

Participants artists were:  Alfa Diallo , Alpha Omega 1-7, Theatrical Dance Co., Francis Alenikoff, Miguel Algarin, Nancy Alvsick, Yoshiki Araki, Jane Aruns, Tom Bahring, Bernadette Baptists, Erica Baum, Margaret Bazura, Tsvi Ben-Aretz, Winnie Berrios, Dean Benosh, Benta, Nicholais Bergery, Jeff Berren, Silvio Betti, Karen Borca, David Boyle, Yvette Braithwaite, Marion Branjis, Mark Brennan, George Breakfast, China Burney, Mark  Burns, Paolo Baggiani, Cadets of CUANDO, George Calle, Carson Ferri Grant, Andrew Castucci, David Mora Catlett, Mitch Corber, Aurora Cortese, Larry Crombez, Count Caesar, Demo Moe, George Chaikin, Franco Ciarlo, Teddy Clark, Barbara Coleman, Bill Conway, Linus Coraggio, Willie Correa, Nilde Cortez, Jamie Dalglish, Darrell Daniels, Wendy Dann, Melody D'Arnell, Bruce Davis, Richard Dawkin, Jeff Day, Rick Little & The Loose, Ricky Dejesus, Fabio Della Sala, Baldo Deodato, Sandro Dernini, Savier Diaz, Stephen DiLauro, Al  DiMartino, Bob Dombrowski, Kirn Douthett, Freddie the Dreamer, Monique Dulau, Elaine Elekoff, Lee Ellickson, Michael Enns, Russel Epprecht, Marina Epstein, FA-Q, Bill Fein, Carol Fleishman, Eli Fountain, Bionca Florelli, Laren Gabor, Christa Camper, Lori Terzine, Jeff Gilmore, G.Gilmore, Jay Godfrey, Katherine Gordon, Robert Gurtler III, Ken Hiratsuka, Hara Lampos, Havakawa, R.I.P. Hayman, Richard Heisler, Betti Sue Hertz,  E.F. Higgins III, Anna Homler, Leonard Horowitz,  Jason Hwang, Antonia Iacchia, Jack Boy, Anna Jepsen, Jill 125, Suellen Johnson, Baird Jones, Frank  Kanfman, Lynne Kanter, Frank Kaufman, Tsujii Katsu, P. Michael  Keane, Ray Kelly, Connie Kieltyka, Julius Klein, Jerelle Kraus, Henner Kuckuck, Kwok, Lamont Lamberger, Hanne Lauridsen, William & Cathline Laziza, Judy Levy, Ken Hiratsuka, Arturo Lindsay, Alex Locadio, Frank Lowe, Robert MacMillan, Paolo Maltese, Michele Mahrer, Margaret Massa, Gianfranco Mantenga, Marcos Margall, Amy Marx, Robert Marinez, Dona McAdams, Gloria McLean, Tom McDonald, Missing Foundation, Myra Medford, Sue Suzanne Messim, Eric Miller, Richard Malone, Maria Mingalone, MIO, Tyrone Mitchell, Bob Monti, Janet Morgan,  Butch Morris, Wilber Morris, Charles Morron, Bernd Naber, Nada, Pamela Nadeau, Noriko, Bruce Richard Nuggent, Nuyorican Poets Cafe, Mart Oshima, Deborah Ossoff, Lorenzo Pace, Monique & Robert Parker, G. Pegor, Luca Pizzorno, Plantela, Wes Power, Ronald Pratt, Angela Pringle, Kirsten Randolph, Maggie Reilly, Angela Repelant, Alva Rogers, Rogon, Antonio Romano, Tony Roos, Salvador Rosilo, Peter Ruhf, Barnaby Ruhe, Saunders Shaw, Francesco Santinelli, Shalom, Emelio Schlaepfer, Arleen Schloss, Mekki Schmidt, Frank Shifreen, Ann Shostrom, Michele Siboun, George W. Simmons, Brian Smith, Nico Smith, Leonid Sokov, Carmine Spera, Anita Steckel, Alan Steinfeld, Joe Strand, Sue Strande, Dave Street, Elyse Taylor, Eve Teitelbaun, Tenesh, Kate Tastrophe, Bill Thompson, Seth Tobbacman, Tomoko Toki, Toyo, Tovey, Katsuu Tsujii, Carline Vago, Helene Valentin, Juilius Valiunas, Angela Valorio, L. Van Binder, Claude Van Lingen, Eve Vaterlaus, Penny Ward, Willem Brugman, World Famous Blue Jays, Karen Yager, James Zoller, Michael J. Zwicky, Ken Hiratsuka.

Following a Lenny Horowitz’s idea, to recall the group photos made by the Surrealists, Futurists, Dada, and other historical avant-garde movements, Plexus art opera was opened by a ritual photo group shot, that became a traditional Plexus performance rite. A week before the event, Plexus atelier des art was opened in the gym of CUANDO asa workshopin progress. Throughthis open environment, many artists started to work together to build the art slaves boat. The art slaves voyage was designed as a co-authored venture, produced by the artists in the first person. Plexus art opera was conceptualized through a “anti-libretto” storyboard developed from collective artists contributions. For the admission, as for the Purgatorio Show ’85, it was charged again only 99 cents. This time, as a change again like money art, the penny was painted in red. The admission ticket was designed by Silvio Betti with the figure of the woman Donna Purgatorio. The ticket had an empty hole placed at her sex, with the size of the painted red penny to be placed in.

On Second Avenue, in front the CUANDO building, starting from the sidewalk to inside the gym, there was sculptured by Ken Hiratsuka a long artwork One Line.  As opening act, following the One Line of Ken Hiratsuka ten dancers of the Alfa Omega 1-7 Theatrical Dance Company moved into the building. Dressed  as prehistoric animals, they visited the exhibition Androgyne Time Show, curated in the hall by Margaret Bazura. After, they opened the doors of the gym and invited the audience to move in. Inside the gym, there were 220 and more musicians, actors, visual artists, dancers, photographers, videomakers, poets, singers, already performing all together. It was a chaos. It was like the show was already started long time before. The gym doors, like old bronze cathedral doors, were covered by the 16 pieces artwork The Gates of Paradise made by Eve Vaterlaus. The audience had to cross a low passage through a metal rubbish installation made by David Adams to get inside the gym. The entrance was controlled by a group of squatters from East 13th Street, directed by David Boyle. They were dressed like roman centurions, samurai and other military figures holding phallic weapons. The gym was over crowed of artworks, artists, people, sounds, lights and smoke machines.

Almost one hundred art installations were placed one next to the other one, representing together the symbolic art slave ship. Installations and artists were linked together by the Ken Hiratsuka’s One Line wire, creating more difficulties for everybody to move around. At the centre, there was the captain Ray Kelly, under his suspended icosahedron sculpture inspired by Bucky Fuller. Next to him, there was the mobile sculpture Trojan Horse of Paolo Buggiani.  At its feet, different kinds of incenses chosen by Paolo Maltese were burning like in a ritual sacrifice. As guardians, there were standing the American boomerang champion Barnaby Ruhe with a boomerang and Sandro Dernini holding a green bronze statuette of a Nuraghic mythological warrior from Sardinia. Sandro wore an iron mask sculpture The Minotaur made by Paolo Buggiani. His half head was shaved completely and the other part was cover by long hair. At the prow of the boat, there was Helene Valentin near to her Vulcan installation. The borders of the boat were made by Freddie the Dreamer with his The First Slave, Ann Amstrom with her Dante, Deborah Ossof with her Vortex, Michelle Siboun with her Picasso, Shalom Newman with his Muses, Anita Steckel with her Art Journey, Gianfranco Mantegna with his Airplane dedicated to Joseph Beuys, Lorenzo Pace with his Move, Lenny Horowitz with The Marlboro Man, Eve Vaterlaus dressed as Eve, Joe Strand as Capt. Nemo, Bernd Naber with his Abstract Apple, Marcos Margal as Colombo, Leniod Sokof with his The Penis, Kate Tastrophe and Toyo with The Guillotine, David Mora Catlet with his Stone Wheel, Nico Smith with his Socrate, Arturo Lindsay with his Ancestral Messanger, Robert Parker with his Machine.

At the stern of the boat, the maestro Butch Morris was conducting a 14 pieces orchestra and a 5 voices chorus with lyrics by Miguel Algarin. Next to him, there was Arleen Schloss performing E,  with a light beans dress and a small Bucky Fuller ecosahedron on her head. On the stage, it was represented the World Art Trade Center symbolically placed at the Vatican City.  At the center of it, there was the Black Pope Bruce Richard Nuggent, sitting on a throne. In front of him there were four actors dressed as cardinals near a table with on top a bread woman performed by Hanna Homler.  On the right side of the stage, there was the big installation The House of Mephistophele by Joe Strand, reproducing in scale the top of the Empire State Building. Next it, there was Kirsten Randolph playing Lady Liberty. On the left side, there were the installation TV God Fish Tank, by P. Michael Keane and the Indian Teepee made by Wes Power and Fabio della Sala. From the balcony, Stephen DiLauro, Dave Street, Antonia Iacchia, and others actors performed to buy as slaves the artists in a public auction conducted by E.F. Higgins III.   As money were used thousands copies of the Legal Gender, an artwork made in 1971 by Anita Steckel with the image of a penis on one dollar bill. At the art slaves auction, thousands copies of the artificial intelligence Haddamard Matrix by George Chaikin, dedicated to Ralston Farina, were distributed free of charge to the audience through the air fan of Ralston Farina. While the art slaves auction was happening, on the side walls of the gym and in the back of the stage, it was staged a slide show with different screens projecting images by Anita Steckel of a woman flying through art history into the Systine Chapel,  in parallel with other Anita Steckel’s radical images of Adolph Hitler and Nazi soldiers,  with their penis standing up.  As last image, it was projected a new Plexus community-based art market strategy diagram, revised by Sandro Dernini and Lenny Horowitz, from the diagram made by Cristobal Senior for the art opera Goya Time New York 1985.

The Plexus strategy highlighted the use of the mythology as commodity symbol as way to attack the star system of the artist’s hierarchies. It was conceptualized as  modern sacrifices for Mephistopheles, the artist in the first person. During the art slaves auction, Kistern Randolphas Lady Liberty at the centre of the art slaves boat installation set in fire the Trojan Horse. Then, with Sandro Dernini with Barnaby Ruhe, she conducted the attack to the Artworld Trade Center. As closing act, Black Eve not anymore slave was raised up by all dancers. Then, the poet Miguel Algarin took out his knife and threw it to the audience by saying: for your freedom, protect yourself!  At that point, Sandro Dernini announced that Plexus art slave ship was going to escape from the New York Artworld. The island of Sardinia, at the centre of the Mediterranean sea, was identified as the first landing place in the summer of 1987.for the Plexus art slaves journey, because of his nuraghic heritage, a non western Greek-Roman culture. Sardinia was chosen intentionally to mask the name of the House of the Slaves in Goree, in Senegal, as the real final destination of the Plexus art slaves boat. Too many communication campaigns were speculating on the name of Africa only for their own self promotion and Plexus wanted to avoid it.

On March 1,  at Joannee Freedom’s studio, on 93 Avenue B,  Lenny Horowitz, Sandro Dernini, David Boyle, Butch Morris, Alfa Diallo, Arturo Lindsay, Lorenzo Pace, Maggie Reilly, Garick Beck and Joanee Freedom, gathered together to write a Plexus presentation to be carried by Sandro in Italy and in Senegal to organize there the continuation of the art slaves journey.

They spent all night discussing about what was Plexus and how it could be defined.  Each one of them had her/his own different vision about Plexus.  Finally, they agreed on the following six lines statement:

To Whom It Concerns: Plexus is a framework for global art projects. These projects are simultaneous and syncratic presentations of science and art. Plexus respects and encourages the creative process of research,  actualization and documentation. In essence,  Plexus is an interdisciplinary multinational network for artists in the first person related together by art logic.