Terrestrial Inferno: Dante Today

“Reading Dante’s Inferno today reminds us that hell has been built on earth. The machinery of war, like the descending circles of hell, trap people into a blind life followed by a blind death – all without meaning.

[. . .]

Dante’s Inferno was written as a warning and a spur to human beings – warning them not to fall prey to the empty promises of wealth and power, spurring them to contact the Divine Other in a life of spiritual reflection in order to find and follow what is good. In this tradition I show the images that are in the video. The hell on earth glimpsed here is the result of our collective indifference to the ambitious search for power and wealth that has been launched by a few in the name of society. I am referring to the so-called ‘global war on terror’. A part of every taxed purchase we make goes to its funding, rendering us complicit in its execution. Moreover, the theme of consumption is an integral part of Dante’s poem. Here I show the way that in the interests of providing food for all, our consumption habits have denied the lives of those animals we consume. The industrial production of food, furthermore, has not eradicated global hunger – rather it has created health epidemics like obesity (not to mention swine flu). Dante would be lost if he were transported to this cruel world: are we equally lost here?”    –V Gimbel, Vimeo, December 11, 2009

“Albertazzi recita Dante nella città ferita”

“Giovedì sera, intorno a mezzanotte, vagando fra i vari canali tv quasi tutti monopolizzati dalle vicende pubbliche e private del presidente del consiglio sono finito casualmente su Rai 2. E ho visto Giorgio Albertazzi che recitava un canto della Divina Commedia davanti a casa mia. Sì, ho guardato bene. Era appoggiato a una fontanella che si trova proprio davanti al map (alloggio provvisorio) che mi è stato assegnato nel nuovo villaggio di Onna. Ho cominciato a seguire quell’evento televisivo che mi è parso subito straordinario. E per quasi un’ora non sono riuscito a staccare occhi e orecchi.”    –Giustino Parisse, Il Centro, October 3, 2009

Five Circles of Baffling Webcomic Hell

“A recent study by the New England Journal of Medicine found that 86 percent of all webcomic artists are, quote, “clownshit insane.” Not that I’m criticizing; I wrote a horror novel about dongs, I’m not going to throw stones from that glass house. But man, there is something about webcomics as a medium that really drives people to reach their craziest potential.

“In our exhaustive analysis in the forums we found that all of the mind-blowingly insane webcomics fit neatly into five categories, which we have arranged in order of most innocuous to the very nightmares of the Devil himself. So hang onto your sanity good and tight as we tour these five circles of webcomic hell, beginning with Level 5, where we find…” — Nick Coffin, Cracked, August 10, 2009

Find out the rest here.

‘The Bright River’: A Hip Hop Version of Dante’s Inferno

“Quick lives in the City of the Dead, and pays his rent by finding souls lost in purgatory. Scouring the water-bound city for a red-headed girl named Calliope, Quick finds the soldier who loved her, a pager-carrying bouncer named King of the Birds, and a demon who claims to be toiling for the good of the world. With a live soundtrack of cello, flute, drums, and vocal calisthenics, The Bright River follows Quick’s journey through the dingy underworld – from the bus station of purgatory to the rooftop of creation.

“Deep and dark as the River Styx, this neo-gothic tale of love was first performed by energetic bard Tim Barsky to sold-out Berkeley crowds in 2005. Resurrected from the theatrical graveyard, this musical reinvention of Dante’s Inferno is set for a three month run. With music that thrums through your bones and a story that yanks your still-beating heart straight out of your ribcage, The Bright River is proof that hope comes at man’s darkest hour.” [. . .]    –7×7 Editors, 7×7, December 11, 2009.

Luke Chueh’s Inferno (2009)

“The Inferno‘s artistic legacy is huge; Botticelli, Doré, Dali, Rauschenberg, and countless lesser known artists have created works inspired by the poem. It has inspired a movie (acted out by paper puppets) and even became a video game. Most artists seem to stay true to the poem, focusing on ‘the poets’ Dante, his guide Virgil, and Inferno‘s diverse cast of demons and damned. Rauschenberg approached Inferno by creating a painting for each of the 36 cantos. As for me, I’ve decided to remove Dante and Virgil, and instead create a painting for each ring of hell, with the exception of Rings Seven (a triptych – 3 paintings) and Eight (a deciptych – 10 paintings). I wanted to compose each painting in a way that illustrates what a ‘normal day in hell’ would be like. In order for me to accomplish this, I had to take some personal liberties with certain details within the Inferno, but I did my best to stay as true to the text as I could.

“Inferno was hosted by Gallery 1988, and opened on September 9th, 2009 (9/9/9). If you’re interested in any of these paintings, please contact Gallery 1988 for availability.” [. . .]    —Luke Chueh on his work, August, 2009.

Pictured above is Chueh’s map of his Inferno.

You can check out the full series of artwork and more of Chueh’s work on his website.

Dante’s Weird Fish, San Francisco

Dantes-Weird-Fish-Menu-logo-SF“Established in 2006, Weird Fish made its mark as a neighborhood favorite serving up Pescatarian meals morning, noon & night. A vast army of darkness [hungry vegans] descended upon this tiny outpost nestled neatly behind everyone’s favorite 18th & Mission bus stop and feasted on mouth watering & artery clogging vegan dishes. […] After leaving in 2009, original creator and owner, Peter Hood (Boogaloos, St. Francis Fountain, Crossroads Café in Joshua Tree), returned to take back the reigns of Weird Fish in March of 2012. Adding the moniker, ‘Dante’s’ to Weird Fish, an homage to the 9 levels of Hell of business divorce, Hood continues to promote sustainable seafood, organic produce from local farms, and California brewers and wine makers in a cozy ‘Devil may care’ environment. Dante’s Weird Fish prides itself in serving food that is bad for you, but good for the environment. So, pull up a chair and take one for the team!”

dantes-weird-fish

 

Tyrese Gibson’s Mayhem (2009)

MayhemTyrese Gibson’s 2009 comic follows a vigilante protagonist known as Mayhem, whose real name is Dante.

“Los Angeles, the City of Fallen Angels, is a city swept up by a brutal crime wave led by a kingpin known only as Big X. The body count builds as only one man can stop the flow of drugs and violence, only one man can stop Big X. He is the embodiment of vengeance and raw justice, the faceless arm of those who cannot defend themselves. He is known as Mayhem, and along with his sexy but deadly partner Malice, their goal is to dismantle the kingpin’s organization, unravel the dark secret that mysteriously links them to Big X, and save the city they grew up in.”    —Amazon

Boris Tischenko: Dante Symphony No. 4

boris-tischenkos-dante-symphony-no-4“The musical style and composing manner of Boris Tishchenko (1939 – 2010) shows him to be a typical representative of the Leningrad composers’ school. He was very much influenced by music of his teachers Dmitri Shostakovich and Galina Ustvolskaya, turning these influences in his own way. He tried to use some experimental and modernist ideas like twelve-tone or aleatoric techniques, but was much more attached to the native traditions of his homeland. He was honored by Shostakovich’s orchestration of his First Cello Concerto, and repaid his master by the orchestration, editing and transcription of a few scores by Shostakovich.”    —Avaxhome

Irena Lisiewicz’s Purgatorio Image Theatre

irena-lisiewiczs-purgatorio-image-theatreIrena Lisiewicz, a professional artist and costume and set designer, created a project entitled Purgatorio Image Theatre (2009-2013), inspired by Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy. To learn more about Lisiewicz and her works, view her LinkedIn profile, a Slideshare of her project Purgatorio Image Theatre, and a Picasa Web Album of her artwork.

Sonora Commedia (2009)

sonora-commedia-2009

Eerie and beautiful wordless pieces.  Mostly experimental electronic, ambient, cinematic, and new classic, but also some drone, techno, alt rock, and metal tracks (the latter few genres especially for Inferno).

The 3 CDs have pieces written for all 100 cantos by 33 different musicians.  Each musician wrote for a given canto number in each canticle– Krell, for example, wrote for Inferno 20, Purgatorio 20, and Paradiso 20. For Inferno 34, however, a group of musicians collaborated.

Full album on Spotify, or available for purchase here.