Alexander McQueen’s 1996 Show Dante

inferno-book-alexander-mcqueen-1996“Taking place at Christ Church in Spitalfields (Isabella Blow was obsessed with the idea that it’s architect, Nicholas Hawksmoor, was a Satanist), Alexander McQueen’s 1996 show Dante was a controversial comment on religion, war and innocence that mixed crucifixes with corsets and had models sticking their tongues out in church. It was a show that McQueen himself, as well as many others, have referenced over and over again, but without the phenomenon of social media, backstage shots never made it into the public eye. In a new book Inferno: Alexander McQueen, published by Laurence King, exclusive, never-before-seen photographs front and backstage are revealed for the very first time. These will be published alongside rare interviews with Lee’s friends, peers and colleagues, and includes contributions from Suzy Menkes, Katy England, Andrew Groves (McQueen’s partner at the time), as well as the models, stylists and designers who helped create the dramatic show.” — Felicity Kinsella for i-D on vice.com

Alexander McQueen’s “Dante” Collection, 1996

alexander-mcqueen-dante-collection-1996“McQueen’s theatrical ‘Dante’ collection was staged at a church in Spitalfields in 1996. The show opened with organ music filling the church that was soon drowned out by gunfire. Models walked the runway looking wearing wore crucifix masks, denim splashed with bleach and lots of lace. McQueen commented that the collection was ‘not so much about death, but the awareness that it’s there’.”    —The Concept of Fashion, December 20, 2011

Some of the pieces from this 1996 collection have been included in the “Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore!” (2014) exhibition in London. To learn more about the London show, see “In London, Fashion History Up Close.”

Roger Marsh, “Il Cor Tristo” (2008)

roger-marsh-il-cor-tristo-2008“In 1996-98 I was the producer for an audio-book version of Dante’s Divine Comedy, in a new English translation by Benedict Flynn. The reader was Heathcote Williams, and when we came to record Canto 33 of Inferno, I found myself transported by the power and emotion of his reading. It occurred to me that afternoon, that one day I would like to make a musical setting of these verses.
The opportunity to realise this project came last year, when the Hilliard Ensemble invited me to compose something for them, and this was the project I proposed to them. Ugolino’s monologue in Canto 33 is remarkable within the context of the Divine Comedy, in that it is the only time we are given a full account of a personal story: elsewhere we are given snippets or allusions, but Dante does not make time to re-iterate tales he believes we should know already. In this case, the scenario clearly took hold of his imagination: a traitor imprisoned with his entire family, and eventually condemned to starve to death together in their sealed tower. Dante has Ugolino tell his own story simply, calmly and in pathetic detail.
I have begun the drama as Dante first encounters the frozen lake which lies at the bottom of the pit of Hell, cutting a few lines from time to time en route to Ugolino’s story, which I have set complete. My primary concern has been to keep Dante’s words clear at all times, and thus you will find in this ‘contemporary’ music many devices more usually encountered in music of much earlier times.I hope that I have been able to do this without wasting the incredible talents of the Hilliard Ensemble. The challenge for them is less in the notes they have to sing, than in the large number of words which I ask them to enunciate with expression, but also with maximum clarity. And that is my suggestion to you: that you do not close your eyes and let the sound of the music drift over you, but that you accompany Dante on this section of his journey, line by line.”    –Roger Marsh, 2008

The Hilliard Ensemble’s recording
Hear a clip here

Rage Against the Machine, “Roll Right” (Evil Empire, 1996)

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From Lyrics Time:

Lick off the shot my stories shock ya like Ellison
Main line adrenaline Gaza to Tienanmen
From the basement I’m dwellin’ in
I cock back tha sling to stone a settler
And breaks him off clean, call me the upsetter
Here comes the hands on the leashes
The cross, the capital, the pale families, the fear and the mouthpieces
The single sista lynch
The cell doors crash
And the master’s drums echo, echo, echo, echo, echo, echo
Roll right! Roll call!
But now we’re alright, we’re all calm!
Roll right! Roll call!
And now we’re alright, we’re all calm!
This hits like fists bomb with the left and don’t miss
With the sickest stilo I spark fear like pigs in the park
Head crack, I hijack the papers
The vapors caught fire up in your mind
Come back rewind one time
Here comes the hands on the leashes
The cross, the capital, the pale families, the fear and the mouthpieces
The single sista lynch
The cell doors crash
And the master’s drums echo, echo, echo, echo, echo, echo
Roll right! Roll call!
But now we’re alright, we’re all calm!
Roll right! Roll call!
We gotta take ’em to tha seventh level
We gotta take ’em to tha seventh level
For their lives and my lives were never settled
Come on, don’t freeze when zero hour comes
Come on, come on, don’t freeze when zero hour comes
Come on
Send ’em to tha seventh level!
Send ’em to tha seventh level!
Send ’em to tha seventh level!
Send ’em to tha seventh level!
For their lives and my lives were never settled

Ancient, “The Cainian Chronicle” (1996)

ancient-the-cainian-chronicle-1996
This Norwegian metal band’s second album contains a track called “At the Infernal Portal (Canto III)” which consists of the original Italian and an English translation of Inferno III, 1-9.

Gianfranco Casadio, Dante Nel Cinema (1996)

Dante Nel CinemaDante Nel Cinema is a scholarly work by Gianfranco Casadio which investigates Dante’s work’s influence in films.

Click here to view a review of Dante Nel Cinema in the publication Quaderni d’Italianistica.

 

 

 

 

Contributed by Dennis Looney

“Afterlife” Video Game, Lucas Arts, 1996

afterlife-video-game-lucas-arts-1996 “As a semi-omnipotent being, you are responsible for laying out a functional heaven and hell to reward or punish the denizens of a strange planet. Afterlife represents one of the most unusual videogame concepts to ever make it to store shelves. As a semi-omnipotent being (I know that’s a bit of an oxymoron, but this game’s full of things like that), you are responsible for laying out a functional heaven and hell to reward or punish the denizens of a strange planet. To do so, you must keep an eye on the most common sins and virtues of your people (who look a lot like the monsters from Critters), the balance of temporary to permanent souls in each of your buildings, and more mundane tasks like the building of roads and training facilities. For each soul you process you are rewarded with pennies from heaven, which may in turn be used to purchase more edifices and services.” [. . .]    –Trent C. Ward, GameSpot, July 12, 1996

Contributed by Ted Reinert (Bowdoin, ’05)