“New Jersey: License Endorsement in the 10th circle of Hell”

“Since covid, the DMV has been a nightmare experience especially in New Jersey. It wasn’t until November that the MVC decided that appointments might be better than waiting in line for 3 hours at 5 AM

“I’ve been to the DMV 6 times since May to get my permit / license. I’ve done everything including a BRC to slip the road test so that I could expedite getting my endorsement.

“After making an appointment in November (for my sixth trip) I showed up with all of my documentation this Saturday to finally get it done. I double checked all my paperwork. I brought extra paperwork so I could also get my REAL ID (my license is expiring in a month and my moto permit expires this month).

“I go in at my appointment I ACE the test (I actually already took it before but they literally LOST my score) and I flash my BRC cert from the summer to get my endorsement but despite showing this multiple times before to DMV folks, this woman today told me the small credit card sizes cert was it enough, I needed a larger form (examiners verification) to get my endorsement. I called my BRC office and they had no idea what the form is and have never issued one.

“Does god hate me? Am I am idiot? Should I just sell my bike?”   –u/universal_ubiquity, Reddit, 2021

Read the full thread here.

“Dario Cecchini on Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy’”

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“For many visitors to Tuscany, their first taste of Dante’s verses came with their first taste of bistecca alla Fiorentina, crowded around the boisterous restaurant tables of local butcher Dario Cecchini. In Panzano in Chianti, surrounded by art and memory, Dario recites Dante by heart, towering over the modest shop display of carefully chosen cuts. There is a verse for every moment, from love to crisis, and the energy that comes with a celebration of life.” [. . .]    –Marisa Garreffa, The Florentine, March 24, 2021.

Dante receives his COVID-19 vaccine

Posted to Instagram by La Repubblica and L’Espresso Settimanale illustrator Mauro Biani (@maurobia) on Dantedì (March 25) 2021. The image was also shared on La Repubblica.

Contributed by Carmelo Galati (Temple University)

Vasuki Shastry, Asia’s 8 Circles of Hell

“Inspired by Dante’s Inferno, Shastry takes readers on a journey through modern Asia’s eight circles of hell where we encounter urban cowboys and cowgirls fleeing rural areas to live in increasingly uninhabitable cities, disadvantaged teenage girls unable to meet their aspirations due to social strictures, internal mutiny, messy geopolitics from the rise of China, and a political and business class whose interests are in conflict with a majority of the population. Shastry challenges conventional thinking about Asia’s place in the world and the book is essential reading for those with an interest in the continent’s future.”    –From the book description, Amazon

Dantedì 2020 in Tunisia

Hammadi Agrebi, Professor of Italian in the Tunisian Ministry of Education, posted a brief video of himself dressed as Dante and reciting the opening verses of the Inferno as a celebration of Dantedì 2020. He began his reading by remarking on the ways that Dante’s verses serve to unify people across cultures, and circulated them on social media with the hashtag #IoleggoDante, an initiative sponsored by the Italian Ministry of Culture to display solidarity with Italians and others worldwide who were in strict lockdowns during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The video was posted on YouTube on March 24, 2020.

Kat Mustatea, Voidopolis (2020)

@kmustatea on Instagram (January 30, 2021)

Voidopolis is a digital performance about loss and memory that is currently unfolding over 45 posts on my Instagram feed (@kmustatea). Started July 1, 2020, it is a loose retelling of Dante’s Inferno, informed by the grim experience of wandering through NYC during a pandemic. Instead of the poet Virgil, my guide is a caustic hobo named Nikita.”   –Kat Mustatea

Featuring a Dantesque cast of characters ranging from the Virgilian Nikita to a mohawked Minos, a gruff ferryman named Kim and a withdrawn George Perec, Mustatea’s Voidopolis weaves through the pandemic-deserted streets of Manhattan, a posthuman landscape of absence and loss, bearing witness to its vanishings. Voidopolis won the 2020 Arts & Letters “Unclassifiable” Prize for Literature, and received a Literature grant from the Cafe Royal Cultural Foundation.

To read more about both the process of the piece and its influences, including Dante, see the interview with Mustatea featured in Dovetail Magazine (2020).

 

Stranded on Purgatory Island

“A Dantean reflection on the ecological disaster of isolation (and why this is not Hell).”  Essay by Filippo Gianferrari (UC-Santa Cruz) for Breaking Ground, July 27, 2020

Carlton Fletcher: “Finding the proper circle in Dante’s hell for the deserving”

fletcher sig.jpg“In the classic poem The Divine Comedy, finished in 1320 by Italian poet Dante Alighieri, Dante made note of the nine circles of hell that he visited during what had to have been a fever dream.

“In doing so, Dante left the perfect vehicle for we mere mortals centuries later to assign the likes of those with whom we’re at odds or others whose abhorrent behavior we find particularly egregious. So, as we close out this most contentious of years — a year we might dump as a whole into the first circle of Dante’s hell — here are a few nominees for various levels of the poet’s underworld.”   –Carlton Fletcher, “Finding the Proper Circle in Dante’s Hell for the Deserving,” Albany Herald, 2020
See the full article here.

COVID-19 and Dante’s Inferno

“Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy is undeniably a timeless classic. Its grand adventure through the nine gates of hell sparks readers with life and interest. It seems like an out-of-place work for a description of our chaotic times, but I believe it is a lot more relatable to us than we might think in the most unlikely of ways. So what can readers take from this classic besides grand allusions to the past?

“Perhaps it is with the old that we can come to better understand the new. Perhaps we can come to a new perspective on the world and its isolated communication due to COVID-19 through this classic. Much like we are now, venturing alone except through the cyberways of technological communication or daily filial visits, Dante with his guide Virgil treaded a path of darkness to the center of hell to understand and experience the dark side of the world. We too traverse a pathway of ‘hell’ not a literal one, of course, but rather a figurative pathway of undiscovered and problematic turmoil for the human condition.”   –Jayden Montalvo, Johns Hopkins Newsletter, 2020

Read the full article here.

Rauschenberg’s Dante in the Time of Pandemic

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“Dante’s three-part epic poem portrays the journey souls take after death. Essentially a socio-economic commentary on Florentine life, with strong moral undertones and focus on the human condition, its themes can be adapted to any time. Today, in the face of Covid-19, the 700-year-old Commedia resonates strongly. Now is a perfect time to reflect on the work through its visual depictions. Although countless artists have illustrated the work since its medieval publication – Sandro Botticelli, Gustave Doré, and John Flaxman, to name a few – modern artists have shown how its relevance lives on to this day. Perhaps the most progressive modern rendering of Dante’s epic to date is seen through the work of artist Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008).

“Dante is ambiguous in his writing on the Sodomites, reflecting the reticence surrounding the subject of homosexuality in his day. Rauschenberg mirrors this ambiguity in his illustration with an empty speech bubble beneath a red outline of his own traced foot. The tracing inserts Rauschenberg into the narrative just as Dante the Poet occasionally appears in the text, separate from Dante the Pilgrim, a personal touch that is seldom seen in Commedia illustrations.” [. . .]    —Flora Igoe, The Art Story Blog, 2020

See Rauschenberg’s full Inferno series here.