Rachel Rossin, “n=7/The Wake in Heat of Collapse”

n=7

“SIGNAL is pleased to present Rachel Rossin’s ‘n=7 / The Wake in Heat of Collapse,’ a virtual reality simulation that employs the structure of side-scrolling gameplay to create an immersive, Oculus Rift-based experience.

“Descending into a 3-dimensional Dantesque underworld, the viewer navigates a landscape of hacked architectural and video game imagery, algorithmic collages generated from famous paintings (e.g. Guernica and Klimt’s The Kiss), corporate signage, browser logos and clippings from scenic destinations. These radiant environments provide participants with a window to sights unseen, and culminate with the experience of witnessing a crumbling staircase made of Susan Sontag’s ‘Against Interpretation.'”    —Signal’s website

Click here to read about Rossin’s exhibit in The New York Times.

Fede Alvarez, Dante’s Inferno Movie

Fede AlvarezFede Alvarez, Uruguayan director of Evil Dead, will be directing a live-action movie adaptation of Electronic Arts’ 2010 video game, Dante’s Infernofor Universal Pictures.

Alvarez himself confirmed the rumors in an interview with Collider.com, in which he says:

“It sounds like that might be the next film.  We’re super excited about everything on that movie.  It’s with Universal.  Jay Basu’s the writer, he did great work on the script, we worked together on the story.  We’ve got a great script already and we’re about to start casting the film.  So it’s pretty close, pretty exciting.  Basically we’re making a film based on the biggest mythology about hell ever; the biggest poem about hell.  So it’s really something that is super exciting, and it’s not the hell you’ve seen before.  It’s completely different form whatever you think.  It’s one of those films that if you expect to see lava and caves, you’re not going to get that, it’s a completely new realm and new universe.  Horror fans will dig it, because for me it was a good transition to go from Evil Dead to go and do something that is more a big adventure, but set in hell, so of course it’s pretty hardcore just because it’s hell itself.  So it’s pretty cool.  It’s a cool movie.” — Interview with Haleigh Foutch, “Fede Alvarez Talks From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series, Working with Robert Rodriguez, Evil Dead 2MachinaDante’s Inferno, and More,” Collider (May 6, 2014)

See also: Dante Today’s post about the EA video game.

Contributed by Sarah Montross

Kim Kardashian: Hollywood (2014)

Kim Kardashian: HollywoodKim Kardashian: Hollywood is an app in which a cartoon version of Kardashian guides the player’s avatar through the social and financial ladder of Hollywood. The app, released on iTunes in 2014, is expected to make $200 million by the end of 2014.

iTunes’ description of the app reads: “Join KIM KARDASHIAN on a red carpet adventure in Kim Kardashian: Hollywood! Create your own aspiring celebrity and rise to fame and fortune!”

TIME’s article, “Kim Kardashian’s Genius New Game is Basically Dante’s Inferno, claims that “Kim is a Virgil for our time”.

Kim Kardashian: Hollywood reminds me of that super-long 14th-century poem about the nine circles of hell, each filled with sinners punished in a manner fitting their crimes, poetic justice if you will. Kim Kardashian’s game is Dante’s Inferno.

“It’s basically the same idea, except you (Dante) can dress up in customizable hair and outfits that get increasingly elaborate as you get richer/closer to the center of hell. Kim is like Virgil, but she traded in her black robe for a sparkly silver dress, because shrouds are so 14th century. The circles of hell are levels of fame, natch.

“But what’s so hellish about an addictive game that allows users to play at being beautiful reality show stars? Um, everything. In the Kim Kardashian universe, your character can’t sleep, eat or see any friends who aren’t ‘contacts’ to help you get more famous. You have no family (Kim has family, but you don’t) and nobody to love. Your only human contact is with other hell-walkers game characters with whom you can either choose to ‘network’ or ‘flirt.’ You’re not allowed to do anything but go to club openings, photo-shoots or red carpet premieres. You can’t read. [. . .]

“It’s been nearly a month since the game came out, and I’m still in Kim Kardashian’s Hollywood, checking my eyeliner, changing my outfit, flirting and networking and promoting brands and slowly spinning deeper and deeper into darker circles of hell. Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”    —TIME

The Nine Circles of Hell, as Depicted in LEGO (2012)

lego-commedia

“Here’s a series of play sets that won’t be debuting in the toy aisle anytime soon. Sculptor Mihai Mihu has built this fantastic and creepy nine-part collection of LEGO dioramas based on Dante Alighieri’s Inferno. Witness the Divine Comedy depicted in tiny plastic bricks, from the River Styx to the frozen head of Satan.” [. . .]   –Cyriaque Lamar, io9, May 12, 2012

Contributed by Carol Chiodo

See also:
The Telegraph, August 17, 2013 (note that in slide 10, the artist says that he knew the structure of Dante’s vision of hell, but that he didn’t read the Commedia, because he wanted to imagine his own version of punishments for each given sin/s)

Contributed by Leslie Morgan

To Hell and Back: EA’s Guerrilla Marketing Campaign for Dante’s Inferno

dantes-inferno“The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Take, for example, the marketing of Electronic Arts’s blockbuster new video game, Dante’s Inferno. Last year, the company set about trying to educate the public not only about the game but about a 14th-century literary classic and the very nature of human morality. What ensued was one of the most complex campaigns in video-game history, one that got EA burned for fakery and sexism, and then—thanks to a bold change of direction—lauded for intellect and creativity. It’s also a case study in surprising frugality, with a $200,000 guerrilla budget that yielded 47 million impressions of coverage. Today, AdFreak walks you through the nine circles of hell with the man who led the innovative and controversial marketing campaign for Dante’s Inferno. So, put on your asbestos gloves and get ready to descend into damnation, after the jump.” []    –David Griner, AdWeek, February 24, 2010

“Shadows of the Damned” Video Game Review

shadows-of-the-damned-review “Unrestrained. That just about sums up Shadows of the Damned. A surreal, indulgent collaboration between Killer7 director Suda51 and Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami, Shadows of the Damned mixes the personal oeuvre of its creators without much thought for consequence. Stylish but vulgar. Inventive but mechanically routine. Contradictions lie in Shadows’ black heart. The thought of an auteur such as Suda51 embracing an attitude of punk-rock video game making is thrilling, but such exuberance needs channelling. Killer7 was focussed insanity; No More Heroes was shrouded in existential irony. Shadows of the Damned is a mariachi retelling of Dante’s Inferno with knob gags and big guns. You perhaps see the issue” […]    –Tom Higgins, The Telegraph, July 05, 2011

Harlan Ellison, “I Have No Mouth…” Video Game Version

harlan-ellison-i-have-no-mouth-and-i-must-scream-videogame-version
“In the 1995 computer adaptation of Harlan Ellison’s I Have No Mouth, And I Must Scream, Dante’s Divine Comedy is the book that contains a hidden mirror in the Lord’s Bedroom in Ted’s Scenario.”    —Wikipedia

Dante at the Supreme Court

dante-at-the-supreme-court“From Justice Scalia’s majority opinion in today’s case involving violent video games, Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Assn.: California’s argument would fare better if there were a longstanding tradition in this country of specially restricting children’s access to depictions of violence, but there is none.  Certainly the books we give children to read — or read to them when they are younger — contain no shortage of gore. . . In the Inferno, Dante and Virgil watch corrupt politicians struggle to stay submerged beneath a lake of boiling pitch, lest they be skewered by devils above the surface . . . Justice Alito accuses us of pronouncing that playing violent video games “is not different in ‘kind'” from reading violent literature.  Well of course it is different in kind, but not in a way that causes the provision and viewing of violent video games, unlike the provision and reading of books, not to be expressive activity and hence not to enjoy First Amendment protection.  Reading Dante is unquestionably more cultured and intellectually edifying than playing Mortal Kombat.  But these cultural and intellectual differences are not constitutional ones.  Crudely violent video games, tawdry TV shows, and cheap novels and magazines are no less forms of speech than The Divine Comedy, and restrictions upon them must survive strict scrutiny[.]” […]    –Marc DeGirolami, Mirror of Justice, June 27, 2011

Contributed by Patrick Molloy

De Vulgari Eloquentia, the Board Game

de-vulgari-eloquentia-the-board-game “Italy, late Middle Ages. The fabric merchants need to write down their contracts in a language that everyone can understand and the literates are looking for an alternative to the elite of the traditional Latin language. So, the Volgare, the language spoken by the common people, taken from the dialects spoken in the various Italian regions, starts to gain relevance. During this period, Francesco D’Assisi writes his famous Canticle of the Sun and Dante writes the Divine Comedy – both written in Volgare. The players will have to do their part in the creation of this new language!
But who will provide them the proper knowledge to understand the manuscripts in the different dialects? Who will succeed to uncover the secrets of the books inside the Papal Library? Who will embrace the religious life and who will remain a merchant? Some of the players can become a famous banker, someone else can climb the church’s hierarchy to be the next Pope! But in the end, who will be the most appreciated and respected for his status and his culture?”    —Z-Man Games

See also: interview with the designer, Mario Papini.

Prof. Teodolinda Barolini on EA’s “Dante’s Inferno” Video Game

prof-teodolinda-barolini-on-eas-dantes-inferno-videogame

Entertainment Weekly, February 26, 2010

barolini-on-dantes-inferno

See also: “Abandon All Poetry, but Enter Hell With an Attitude” by Dave Itzkoff, The New York Times, January 29, 2010