Inferno at San Francisco’s Gray Area Festival

“I’m in the middle of the dance floor. The strobe lights above me are popping in time with the thundering kick drums and violent synth-bass rolling out of the speakers at 110 beats per minute. I’m shuffling to the rhythms, but I’m only able to control the lower half of my body. All of my movements from the waist up are being dictated by an exoskeleton strapped onto my trunk like a jacket.

“My arms jerk up and down and twist from side to side with the beat, but my own muscles aren’t doing the work; my flesh is being pushed around in space by the 45 pounds of metal, cable, and hydraulic cylinders running across my shoulders and down my arms. A robot is making me dance.” [. . .]

“The dance show, titled Inferno, is meant to be an experiential representation of hell, and I suppose it is, just maybe more fun. Inferno has been touring the world for a couple of years, and it made its US premiere in San Francisco this past weekend at the Gray Area Festival.” [. . .]    –Michael Calore, Wired, July 30, 2019.

Read more about Inferno and the Gray Area Festival on Wired.

 

La Divina Commedia Opera Musical a Torino nel 2020

“Prodotta da Music International Company, ‘La Divina Commedia Opera Musical’ può vantare un team creativo d’eccezione con 24 cantanti-attori e ballerini-acrobati, più di 50 professionisti eoltre 200 costumi utilizzati dal cast. Ad arricchire questa grande squadra ci sono poi gli oltre 50 scenari che si susseguono sul palco a ritmo serrato e tengono alta l’attenzione del pubblico di ogni età. Uno spettacolo assolutamente da non perdere che andrà in scena a Torino dal 24 al 29 marzo 2020.” [. . .]    —Guida Torino, 2019.

Contributed by Silvia Byer (Park University)

“Visions of Hell: Dark Souls cultural heritage”

“It’s hard to place a finger on the most recognizable reference to Gustave Doré’s incredible illustrations in the Dark Souls series. The artist, who in a short 50 year life span produced over 100,000 pieces, and illustrated many of the great works of world literature, haunts many a crooked corner of Lordran, Drangleic, and Lothric. Flicking through his illustrations for Dante Alighieri’s great masterwork The Divine Comedy (1320), it is impossible not to be reminded of the landscapes and demons of Dark Souls. On top of a sheer rock wall we see a clutch of figures, huddled like the Deacons of the Dark. In a shallow pool lie piles of corpses, twisted into an inseparable mess, like the horrible sights that await in the drained ruins of New Londo. The great king Nimrod chained, now a giant and no longer a man, echoes the lost ruler of Drangleic. It is no surprise that it is the first book of The Divine Comedy, Inferno, depicting Dante’s journey through hell, that brings us these images. Doré’s bleak, stony, and understated depictions of Satan’s kingdom so strongly contrasted with decades of medieval hellfire that had gone before. They are powerfully mythic images, ones that have been reached for again and again by artists in search of the power of the dark.

“Though iconic now, the success of Inferno was never assured. Many of Doré’s supporters called it too ambitious and too expensive a project, and so, in 1861, driven by his passion for the source material he funded its publication himself. His risk paid off, and the volume and its subsequent sister volumes Purgatorio and Paradiso, depicting purgatory and Heaven respectively, became his most notable works. A critic at the time of its publication wrote that the illustrations were so powerful that both Dante and Doré must have been ‘communicating by occult and solemn conversations the secret of this Hell plowed by their souls, traveled, explored by them in every sense.’ This plumbing of the depths of despair in search of beauty is the true thematic link between these illustrations and Dark Souls art. Like the monsters of Kuniyoshi, in Doré we don’t just see the aesthetic roots of Dark Souls, we see its themes—the concepts of loss, despair, and the allure of the occult sketched out in chiaroscuro black-and-white.” [. . .]    –Gareth Damian Martin, Kill Screen, May 11, 2016.

“Synetic Theatre takes us all to hell”

“Pushing a performer’s body to its limits has always been a Synetic hallmark, along with an eagerness to incorporate elements of whatever other art forms can help to embroider an evening’s subject. Classic mime, movie horror, military formation all come into play in Synetic’s interpretation of the “Inferno” portion of Dante Alighieri’s allegorical epic poem the Divine Comedy. (The production’s title has been changed from the original ‘Dante’ and then later, ‘Dante’s Divine Comedy.’)

“What remains is a narrative that skims the surface of the poem, as Dante himself, in the guise of the Tsikurishvilis’ red-cloaked gymnast son, Vato, ventures through the circles of hell with Virgil (Alex Mills). In Synetic’s version, Dante, suffering from writer’s block, is in pursuit of an afterlife reunion with his love and muse, Beatrice (an angelic Tori Bertocci).

“The story provides the Tsikurishvilis and their longtime collaborators, set and costume designer Anastasia Simes and soundscape composer Konstantine Lortkipanidze, with a canvas for some ghoulishly sinister stuff — another popular Synetic motif. Simes’s hell is decked out like some really durable parlor of sadomasochism, with demons in studs and leather and Lucifer (Philip Fletcher) looking like a sexy roadie for Marilyn Manson.” [. . .]    –Peter Marks, The Washington Post, October 5, 2016.

You can read more about Synetic Theatre and get tickets for their current season here.

La Divina Avventura

La Divina Avventura è un libro illustrato, in versi, che potete trovare nella vostra libreria di fiducia in tutta Italia.

La Divina Avventura è la Divina Commedia vista con gli occhi dei bambini e delle bambine, con gli occhi dei ragazzi e delle ragazze.

“Anzi, meglio ancora, ascoltata con le orecchie dei più piccoli perché il testo in versi è scritto per essere letto ad alta voce da mamme, papà, nonne, nonni, zii e da chiunque altro voglia tuffarsi nelle incredibili avventure vissute da Dante Alighieri attraverso i tre regni magici.” [. . .]    —La Divina Avventura website, 2019.

You can purchase a copy of La Divina Avventura by Enrico Cerni, Francesca Gambino, and Maria Distefano here.

Contributed by Enrico Cerni.

“La Divina Commedia”: ceramic artist Lee Yun Hee

“Lee Yun Hee weaves Eastern and Western influences to offer a contemporary re-interpretation of both aesthetic and literary traditions, constructing a fantasy world that speaks of hope, strength and determination.

“Young ceramic artist Lee Yun Hee (b. 1986, South Korea) majored in Ceramics at both BFA and MFA levels at Seoul’s Hong Ik University. Lee calls herself a collector. What she collects are everyday stories of the common people, about their desires and wants, their fears and anxiety, and ultimately ‘the cure’ they seek to overcome the challenges and difficulties of life. There is much that she can relate to during her collections, for she is after all also human. Yet, it is not the hardships she clings to, but those ‘cures’ that each person resorts to. [. . .]

“Lee created her latest series entitled ‘La Divina Commedia‘ in 2013. Her inspiration came from Divina Commedia (Divine Comedy), the renowned 14th century epic poem by Italian poet and writer Dante Alighieri. The literary work recounts Dante’s travels through Hell, Purgatory and Paradise. In Lee’s contemporary take, the heroine of the story is a young girl who runs against all odds to overcome the trials and tribulations of life.” [. . .]   —Art Radar, August 11, 2015.

To view more of Lee’s ceramic artwork, you can visit her website.

Contributed by Anita Verna Crofts.

What Dante did with Loss by Jan Conn

What Dante Did With Loss is Jan Conn’s fourth book of poems. Central to this powerful new collection is a suite of poems charting the explosive emotions surrounding her mother’s suicide. Other poems range from meditations on South American flora and fauna to postmodern encounters with immortality.

“Jan Conn was brought up in Asbestos, Quebec. She now lives in Great Barrington, Massachusetts and works as a professor of Biomedical Sciences whose research is focused on mosquitoes, their evolution and ecology. She has published seven previous books of poetry.”    —Véhicule Press, 1998.

You can purchase Conn’s book of poetry through Véhicule Press or through Amazon.

Cheryl Sorg’s Nine Circles of Hell

Dante’s Inferno, cut apart line by line and assembled in readable order with clear tape onto a series of nine plexi circles approximately 20 inches in diameter and mounted onto a floor-to-ceiling height clear plexi road going through the centers of the discs.”    –Cheryl Sorg, from her website, 2019.

Cheryl Sorg is an artist from Cincinnati, Ohio, and currently based in Boston. She specializes in street art, collages, tape drawings, and photography, among other mediums.

To view more of Sorg’s artwork, you can visit her website.

“La Divina Commedia trova nuova vita nei cinguettii di Twitter”

“La copertina sfondata, le pagine squarciate. Du-rante la Seconda Guer-ra Mondiale una copia della Divina Commedia frenò un proiettile vagante, evitando lamorte al proprietario che la custodiva in tasca. «È la provache Dante può salvarti la vi-ta», scherza Pablo Maurette,raccontando l’episodio. Questo 38enne argentino, professore di letteratura comparataa Chicago, è il protagonista di una rivoluzione culturale checorre su Twitter: la lettura, partecipata, del capolavoro di Dante ai tempi dei social.

“La formula è semplice: un canto al giorno, per centogiorni. Si legge, ognuno per conto proprio, poi si inizia a twittare per commentare leterzine e cercare spunti di analisi: i cinguettii si trasformano in note a piè di pagina. Il risultato? Un successo planetario. Dal Messico al Cile, dalla Francia all’Australia, migliaia di utenti di lingua spagnola (una bolgia, verrebbe da dire) hanno lasciato ogni speranza per unirsi al viaggio 3.0 guidato da Virgilio.” [. . .]    –Filippo Femia, La Stampa, February 2, 2018.

You can read the full article on La Stampa.

See other posts related to #Dante2018 here.

Contributed by Pablo Maurette (Florida State University)

“Walking With Dante” – The Colin McEnroe Show

On a 2015 episode of Connecticut Public Radio’s The Colin McEnroe Show, Colin McEnroe, Chion Wolf, and guests Joseph Luzzi, Ron Jenkins, and Rod Dreher discuss the dark wood of the Inferno.

“The story of The Divine Comedy is an adventure story based on Dante’s real life in 14th century Italy. He was deeply wrapped up in the politics of his time. He was a city official, diplomatic negotiator, poet, and a man who dared to cross the pope. He was exiled from his city, never to return under threat of death. He left all behind, except his unrequited love for Beatrice.

“Nearly broken and in a ‘dark wood’ of grief in midlife, Dante wrote a masterpiece that is remarkably relevant today for all of us who have ever been in the dark wood of loss. This hour, we talk to three people who walked with Dante through the dark wood.” [. . .]    –Betsy Kaplan, Connecticut Public Radio, September 28, 2015.

You can listen to the episode and check out the associated links on the WNPR site.