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ANOTHER INFERNO BY JORDAN CHARLES MARTY SUPERVISORY COMMITTEE: WES KLINE, CHAIR SERGIO VEGA, MEMBER CRAIG SMITH, MEMBER SEAN MILLER, MEMBER A PROJECT IN LIEU OF THESIS PRESENTED TO THE COLLEGE OF FINE ARTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF FINE ARTS UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2013
ABSTRACT ANOTHER INFERNO consists of 34 individual pieces that each respond to an aspect of the 34 cantos of Dante's Inferno Addressing the original text of the poem through autobiographic gesture by proxy of Dante's own, the project engages with and visually explores Gilles Deleuze and Flix Guattari's concept of the rhizome as addressed in their collaborative text, A Thousand Plateaus "RHIZOMATICS = POP ANALYSIS"; With this work I have approached the text of Inferno through the use of irreverent contemporary reference and middle-class milieu. 1 Ranging from audio and video loops to static objects mined from the suburban homestead, the production and installation of the work favors multiple connections and paths via viewer analysis of the project as opposed to the linear narrative of Dante's descent through Hell's multiple levels. ANOTHER INFERNO highlights the potential for expanded interpretation and connection of images, objects, ideas, and texts by providing multiple entrances into a work for an individual with any degree of comprehension of the project's main reference. By considering the physical dimensions of a transcendent space for immanent production, repetition no longer refers solely to Dante's descriptions of eternal punishment but also to the re-examination of Inferno by means of personal recollection and lived experience.
THESIS "Dante's Commedia, like any poem, presents itself to us, there on the printed page, as a potential experience that can become actual only in the sustained act of a thoughtful reading. [...] The best introduction' to the Divine Comedy [...] is no Introduction at all. Let the reader face the poem directly, begin his reading now, and see if Dante can be new again this morning and how new." 2 Leopard, lion, and wolf: signiers of sin, maps of future punishment. Dante begins his lyrical journey through Hell's numerous torments as a result of crossing paths with the three predators of Canto I; likewise, the forefront of ANOTHER INFERNO 's installation takes shape in similar fashion. No longer explicit signiers of incontinence, violence and fraud, THREE BEASTS placed at the front of the installation elicits the scrolling image of Robert Crumb's Fritz the Cat as one of many points of entry for the viewer into the project. The anthropomorphic cat and focal point of the comic and lm adaptations of the same name arrives within the guise of outmoded consumer tech: a physically damaged monitor and cheap DVD player constantly looping the three poses of Fritz backed by the psychedelic ashes of an early-90's video editor meets telestrator hybrid. Fritz was the nickname of my father. The journey through Inferno is, for me, autobiography by-proxy; not a narrative, but a place to rethink, map, and work outward from.
Death is ultimately impressive in its perceived nality; whether experienced directly or in passing, there is no conceivable way of out-maneuvering the act. In the same vein Dante's vivid descriptions of the eternal punishments that await the sinner beyond death leave lasting impressions on the reader, ones to be taken as perceived givens and serve as a map of where Minos' tail will place you upon your entrance through the gates. Whether one believes it to be true or false is not the issue at hand; what I am concerned with is working from the thirteenth century narrative's references to produce contemporary examples of Hell's minutia. "[Setting] the concept aside and [focusing] instead on the singular [and] unique circumstances of its production [...] means that the notion of [ Inferno in general'] can be set aside in favor of ones experience of this thing, here and now." 3 A deferral of the original text, ANOTHER INFERNO consists of thirty four individual pieces that each respond to an aspect of the thirty four cantos of Dante's Inferno Addressing the poem through autobiographic gesture by-proxy of Dante's own, the project engages with and visually explores Gilles Deleuze and Flix Guattari's concept of the rhizome as addressed in their collaborative text, A Thousand Plateaus "RHIZOMATICS = POP ANALYSIS"; with the project the text of Inferno is approached through the use of irreverent contemporary reference and middle-class milieu. 4 Ranging from audio and video loops to static objects mined from the suburban homestead, the production and installation of the work favors multiple connections and paths via viewer analysis of the project as opposed to the linear narrative of Dante's descent through Hell's multiple levels.
Responding directly to Deleuze and Guattari, ANOTHER INFERNO approaches Inferno as a text "[laid] out on a plane of exteriority [...], on a single page, the same sheet: lived events, historical determinations, concepts, individuals, groups, social formations, [...] a broken chain of affects and variable speeds, with accelerations and transformations, always in relation with the outside." 5 Each of the project's thirty four pieces occupy every aspect of the installation space by engaging visually, spatially, tacitly and audibly through their suspension from the rafters and placement on the gallery's walls and oor. Piece by piece, each form interacts with all others via direct placement or indirectly through connections one makes across the map by analyzing the present audio, color, cultural signiers, etc. Sound permeates the installation, shifting in intensity as the viewer navigates the space. Lighting from various sources push and pull with the temperature changes of lamps to the temporal ashes of videos which are continuously screened in succession. The physical movement of the viewer's body cutting across the map makes hanging objects undulate, while pieces such as the box fan placed next to the gallery's entrance physically touch the viewer, demarcating the borders of ANOTHER INFERNO as they are traversed. MEMBERS ONLY, sitting atop THREE BEASTS speaks for the seducers of Canto XVIII. As frivolous with their words as the meaningless "Member Since" date on the defunct American Express credit card used to represent them, they are not unlike the credit issuer that comes continually calling the next of kin for its monetary cut after the death of the primary bill payer. "Have I great favor with you' Nay, wondrous!'" 6
FORMING sits directly next to the pair, rerouted to the forefront of ANOTHER INFERNO as opposed to that of Dante's experience. A stack of newspapers displaying six logos equally divided amongst weapons and vehicle manufactures, the top is folded to the section containing the days horoscopes on the occasion of placing my father's obituary within the same issue. My celestial sign circled, the three centaurs of Canto XII who indiscriminately pick off sinners bathing in boiling blood by bow and arrow are in turn represented through three consecutively owned modes of transportation and three inherited handguns. "SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21). A relationship is forming. You can't quite frame it in your mind at this point, but ideas and feelings are coming together and by the end of the week, you'll have a clear picture of what you want to do next." 7 To the rear is placed HELIOTROPE a funeral wreath made with imitation carnations of the same color. While those within the space of Canto XXIV's torments were "without hope of hiding place or heliotrope", a supposed method of obtaining invisibility via consumption of the particularly hued ora, the cyclical wreath of acrylic owers perpetuates the continual loops and repetitions found within both the visions of Dante and my own. 8 CINCH a woodworking clamp which directly references one of Inferno 's most explicitly graphic moments, grasps the wreath just as one sinner "with eyes askance [...] took ahold of the wretched the skull" of another in Canto XXXIII, cannibalizer and cannibalized forever encased within the ice of Hell's lowest level. 9 Beneath each of these pieces, a single large equilateral triangle of stitched and grommeted orange felt is seated. A minimal gesture of the sinner who lies crucied to the ground in Canto XXIII, PLACEMAT adopts its namesake as a space for each of the ve works to rest upon by mimicking the continual procession of sinners cloaked in
molten metal. "The orange cloaks are of lead so thick that the weight thus causes their scales to creak [and he] is stretched naked across the way, as you see, and [...] must feel the weight of each that passes." 10 While considering the act of a utilitarian object such as CINCH continually tightening on oneself immediately elicits a visceral reaction in the viewer, so does OPEN DOOR Part nonfunctional object, part horror lm iconography, the assaulted door responds to Canto IX's angelic intervention via the topic of domestic violence. While Dante and Virgil are refused entrance into Hell's central city of Dis, an angel, wafting Hell's stench from before his face, materializes with wand in hand to effortlessly open a gate in the same manner that my sister's sts did to the walls and interior doors of our childhood home. A sibling whose only conceivable complaint could have been having had life made too easy for her, LOCK reiterates a perpetual relationship of violence and outward aggression toward those closest to her through the handful of knotted blonde hair that hangs from OPEN DOOR 's knob. "Either you'll name yourself, or not a hair will be left on you here." 11 As Dante takes Canto XXXII's sinner by the nape in order to elicit any information from him, so did my sister to my then-partner in an ill-advised relationship as she tore at her scalp while repeatedly punching her in the face. Taking place on the night of my father's memorial outside of a 7-11 convenience store, the alcohol and psychosis fueled brawl was immediately preceded by my sibling running toward me at full speed from one side of the parking lot only to throw herself into the side of my pickup truck as I quickly reversed toward the exit. While what the half-hearted suicide attempt was intended to impress upon me that night remains a mystery, TWENTY SIX
TRUCK STOPS tries again and again to perfect the swiftest reverse and abrupt stop within the frame of a widescreen monitor, reenacting the event but also the push and pull between St. Peter and a black cherub over one man's soul in Canto XXVII. "'Do not take him, wrong me not! He must come down among my minions because he gave the fraudulent counsel, since which till now I have been at his hair; for he who repents cannot be absolved, nor is it possible to repent of a thing and to will it at the same time, for the contradiction does not allow it.'" 12 The next morning I found a handful of hair plastered to the side of my truck, adhered in place from the sweat and humidity of the previous night's event, amusing in the way where the only acceptable response to a moment so dysfunctional is to laugh. "'Now, my son, the city that is named Dis draws near, with its grave citizens, with its grave garrison. [...] The eternal re that blazes there within makes them show red, as you see, in this nether Hell.'" 13 Throughout ANOTHER INFERNO various sources emit articial light at different temperatures and intensities, the most apt to exist within the evening of a suburban landscape being UNTITLED FIVE TIMES Five shop lights hang suspended one through the other while ten uorescent bulbs light the better half of the project's installation. Signiers of the number ve, unable to coherently articulate so many words and held in place by wraps of the same number of chain, UNTITLED FIVE TIMES encapsulates the dening qualities of Canto XXXI's three giants, the nal of which, standing a measure of ve ells above the rest, lowers Dante and Virgil into the frigid existence of Hell's basement. 14 Existing at the opposite end of the underworld's climate spectrum, Canto VIII's CITY LIGHTS utilizes a strip of twelve yellow, orange and
red incandescent lightbulbs to reference the duo's aforementioned arrival to Hell's central city of Dis. Similarly, the aming tombs of Canto X are depicted through the continual loop of a monitor's screen which pulsates red, the vertical hold deliberately set to malfunction. Placed next to this monitor-turned-mausoleum, two strobes which make up SPLIT FLAME ash in and out of sync through lters of red acetate, just as the dual re which contained the bodies of Canto XXVI's sinners. "'O you who are two within one re, [...] let the one of you tell where he went, lost, to die.'" 15 "[...] a metaphor for the immortal, for the perfect pain without destruction that the objects of divine wrath will forever endure." 16 Throughout Inferno punishment exists at all levels for eternity, the sinner perpetually locked in loop with no hope of any existence other than one which will be dealt worse to them on the nal day of judgement. Throughout ANOTHER INFERNO outmoded consumer electronics that exuded their operational objectness and functionality are used and repurposed to simply and explicitly create multidimensional forms via the medieval Italian references at hand. Resting atop a PA monitor and amplier, a vintage drum machine repeatedly loops the preprogrammed factory drumbeat saved in the twenty-third slot of its on-board memory. General rhythmic signier of mid-80's dance music, the lo- amplied samples of LOOP constantly play throughout the installation. While the hoarders and wasters of Canto VII personify this ceaseless repetition through "shouting [...] their reproachful refrain" as they continually roll massive stones back and forth in semi-circles, just one level above resides the three headed hound of Canto VI, ready and willing to inict vengeance onto the gluttons that lie within its reach. Manifesting CERBERUS by daisy-chaining two
ampliers and three cassette decks together via a rats nest of RCA cables, three separate pitches of a dog's bark normal, high and low assert their presence through recordings onto individual looping tapes. Intended for use in landline based answering machines as the cassette which contained the outgoing "greeting" message, the repurposed tapes emit sporadic reports in increments of ten to twenty seconds, overlapping onto each other while running in and out of sync as they compete for dominance within the same body. Finally, BACKMASK rounds out the use of audio loops via Reagan-era tech as it searches for the presumptuously Satanic messages contained within the live broadcast of conservative AM talk radio, reversing the audio in real time. Accomplished via a guitar effects pedal, amplier, speaker, and an oceancorroded boom box, BACKMASK continues the practice of Canto XX's fortune tellers which caused them to have their heads permanently reversed upon their entrance into Hell. "[...] whom you see here were in their lifetime sowers of scandal and schism, and therefore are thus cleft." 17 In step with the physical disgurement of Dante's aforementioned mystics, TRUE FAITH screens the NTSC capture of a PAL formatted Florida tourism VHS tape. Just as Canto XXVIII's sinners were continually mutilated beyond recognition for their crimes against God, so is TRUE FAITH cut up and mangled, it's color drained from view as the action repeats with every viewing. Playing in tandem on the same monitor, a recap of 1985's Superbowl XIX between the Miami Dolphins and the San Francisco 49ers makes for the screening of a second Floridacentric souvenir tape. "Like dolphins when with their arching backs they give sign to
mariners to prepare their ship, so from time to time one of the sinners would show his back to alleviate his pain, and hide it again, quicker than a lightning-ash." 18 So goes Canto XXII and Dan Marino, star quarterback of the Miami Dolphins who never made another Superbowl appearance after his team was annihilated by Joe Montana's offense. Perpetually sinking deeper and deeper as the monitor slowly turns completely red, Florida's collective NFL heart bleeds for what could have been. Lamenting a similar fate, SEBASTIAN & VIOLET the image of the University of Miami 's mascot and female counterpart, hangs from the heads of two large nails after being ripped from the school's online archive and printed to raw canvas. Swaying with each minor touch while suspended in air, so too are the pair of ibis' perpetually trapped within a hurricane of lustful desire as were Francesca and her lover in Canto V. Florida, multiples within one both geographically and culturally, ALL FLORIDA speaks to both the regional differences contained within the state and also to Virgil's spoken map of Hell's dimensions in Canto XI by way of a thrifted black denim jacket embroidered with the image of the state's outline nine times over. On Dante's Hell and that of my own creation, each are direct results of the particularities of their lived histories and environments. Dante's Italy is my suburban Florida, the ranch-style home and all that it houses. Within its walls and beneath its oors are signiers of Inferno 's inhabitants, in step with every project of ANOTHER INFERNO in that everything stems from here it's all middle class milieu. Canto XXIX's leprosy inicted sinners are the immediate contemporary counterparts to DON'T TOUCH a roll of pink berglass insulation that I learned at a young age to do exactly as the title says
when skateboarding down the fully stocked aisles of the commercial A/C distribution warehouse my father managed. Likewise, the carpet padding which existed beneath the surface of every properly outtted 1980's home, GERYON, only resurfaces when beckoned by the homeowner to do so. Utilizing the length of rope which Dante wears around his waist, Virgil uses BELT in Canto's XVI and XVII respectively to summon the mythic beast from the level of Hell beneath them. Sponge for a generations worth of lth, it's only when the septic tank starts routinely backing up after two decades worth of service that it's time to rip back that manmade fur and see what lies underneath. Beer stains in one room, hot wax in another, Canto XXX's homage to the artist Cady Noland in the guise of a weak imitation ( THIS PIECE DOESN'T HAVE ONE EITHER ) and Canto XXV's reconstituted esh of sinners into the bodies of reptiles ( SOME CANDLES ) are just two examples of potential stains left by the counterfeiters and thieves occupying real estate in the stuccoed house that is modern day Malebolge. 19 "I believe that in our unthinkable destiny, ruled by such infamies as bodily pain, every bizarre thing is possible, even the perpetuity of Hell, but that it is sacrilegious to believe in it." 20 Inferno is a perceived given for the torture one will endure if they are unlucky enough to inhabit Hell without Virgil as their guide. ANOTHER INFERNO is not this, it's never been to church and doesn't react or respond to every reference within the text. Its Hell exists in real time and everything is a fair representation of Dante's ctional account. "Centuries of centuries and only in the present do things happen; countless men in the air, on the face of the earth and sea, and all that is really happening is happening to me...." 21 ANOTHER INFERNO = POP ANALYSIS.
BROKEN IN a worn-out pair of Dr. Martens boots, is the chosen signier for Canto XIX's continual procession of popes shoved into a single aming hole, the latest addition's feet extended and aming. Likewise, the comic, candle, and loose cigarette of MARY LUCY BETTY mimics the divine chain of command illustrated in Canto II between Mary, Lucia, and Beatrice. Virgil's home in Limbo of Canto IV and the sands of Canto XIV where re rains down upon those beached below are easily represented through cheap party kitsch in LIMBO and FRINGE while the group of devils who falsely guide Inferno 's duo through Malebolge's sixth pit are represented by ten vacant spaces in the photo booth strips of Canto XXI's TEN AND TWO NIRVANA takes shape as a personalized esh tone bat for the 90's front man "turned to stocks" for taking his own life in Canto XIII, while BLACK FLAG aestheticizes the given punk referent by using black denim as an abstraction of the inscription above Hell's entrance in Canto III. 22 "Through me you enter the woeful city, though me you enter eternal grief, through me you enter among the lost. Justice moved my high maker: the divine power made me, the supreme wisdom, and the primal love. Before me nothing was created if not eternal, and eternal I endure. Abandon every hope, you who enter." 23 Whether on death, biography or abstractions of a ctional narrative, to "repeat is to begin again; to afrm the power of the new and unforeseeable." 24 A black chihuahua on a piece of green felt can speak to and revive the brief mention of an obscure ancient Italian foot race as in Canto XV's FIRST & LAST just as reducing Canto XXXIV's winged image of Satan down to the Florida summer staple a box fan can speak to
personied evils in new ways and forgo the obvious, the given and the perceived absolute. 25 ANOTHER INFERNO does not solely engage with and refer "to the simplistic mythology of manure, roasting spits, res, and tongs, which have gone on proliferating in the depths, and which all writers have repeated, to the dishonor of their imaginations and their decency." 26 ANOTHER INFERNO highlights the potential for expanded interpretation and connection of images, objects, ideas and texts by providing multiple entrances into a work for an individual with any degree of comprehension of the project's main reference. By considering the physical dimensions of a transcendent space for immanent production, repetition no longer refers solely to Dante's descriptions of eternal punishment but also to the re-examination of Inferno by means of personal recollection and lived experience. ANOTHER INFERNO is "a map and not a tracing." A map that is "open and connectable in all of its dimensions; it is detachable, reversible, susceptible to constant modication. It can be torn, reversed, adapted to any kind of mounting, reworked by an individual, group, or social formation." ANOTHER INFERNO embraces "multiple entryways, as opposed to the tracing, which always comes back to the same'. The map has to do with performance, whereas the tracing always involves an alleged competence'". 27 For the viewer with no knowledge of Dante's Inferno the individual pieces remain accessible via their formal construction and given referents. When the visual reading of the project is extended by the motivated viewer through further investigation of the source material and philosophical concerns in terms of rhizomatic thought, difference and repetition, they will gain access to not only a new reading of Inferno but of any previously authored
work considered to be the decisive depiction. ANOTHER INFERNO exists in the middle, an entire text manifested visually, "the conjunction and...and...and...'" that encourages the viewer to move along their own path through the work and develop their own connections. 28 "Make maps, not photos or drawings." 29 ANOTHER INFERNO, MFA Thesis Exhibition II, University Gallery, University of Florida 2013
BIBLIOGRAPHY Aligehieri, Dante, and Charles S. Singleton. The Divine Comedy, Inferno 1: Text. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1970. Aligehieri, Dante, and Charles S. Singleton. The Divine Comedy, Inferno 2: Commentary. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1970. Borges, Jorge Luis. Labyrinths, Selected Stories & Other Writings. New York: New Directions, 1964. Borges, Jorge Luis. Selected Non-Fictions. New York: Viking, 1999. Deleuze, Gilles, and Flix Guattari. A Thousand Plateaus: capitalism and schizophrenia. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1994. Parr, Adrian. The Deleuze Dictionary. New York: Colombia University Press, 2005. 1 Gilles Deleuze, Felix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus: capitalism and schizophrenia Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press 1994, p. 24 2 Aligehieri, Dante, and Charles S. Singleton. The Divine Comedy, Inferno 1: Italian Text and Translation Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1970, 371. 3 Adrian Parr, The Deleuze Dictionary (New York: Colombia University Press, 2005), 73. 4 Deleuze, Gilles, and F lix Guattari. A Thousand Plateaus: capitalism and schizophrenia. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1994, 24. 5 Ibid., 9. 6 Aligehieri, Dante, and Charles S. Singleton. The Divine Comedy, Inferno 1: Italian Text and Translation Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1970, 191. 7 "Horoscopes." Florida Today sec. Coffee Break, May 9, 2012. 8 Ibid. 1, 253. 9 Ibid., 353. 10 Ibid., 243. 11 Ibid., 345.
12 Ibid., 291. 13 Ibid., 83. 14 "As a measure of length the ell varied from country to country, the English ell being fourty ve inches, the Flemish twenty seven inches. The Anonimo orentino comments: [...] The ell is a measurement used in Flanders... which is about two and one half braccia .' Reckoning the braccio orentino at sixty centimeters, ve ells would equal seven and one half meters." Aligehieri, Dante, and Charles S. Singleton. The Divine Comedy, Inferno 2: Commentary. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1970, 576. 15 Ibid. 1, 277. 16 Borges Jorge Luis, Selected Non-Fictions (New York: Viking, 1999), 48. 17 Ibid. 1, 295. 18 Ibid., 225. 19 "There is a place in Hell called Malebolge, all of stone which is the color of iron, like the wall that goes round it. Right in the middle of this malign eld yawns a pit very wide and deep, of whose structure I shall tell in its place. That belt, therefore, which remains between the pit and the foot of the high hard bank is circular, and it has its bottom divided into ten valleys. Such a gure as where, for the guard of the walls, successive ditches encircle castles, the place where the are presents, such an image did not make here. And as is such strongholds from their thresholds to the outer bank are little bridges, so from the base of the cliff ran crags which traversed the embankments and the ditches as far as the pit, which cuts them off and collects them." Ibid.,183. 20 Ibid. 14, 51. 21 Jorge Luis, Borges. Labyrinths, Selected Stories & Other Writings New York: New Directions, 1964, 20. 22 Ibid. 1, 131. 23 Ibid., 25 24 Ibid. 2, 223 25 "This foot race, known as the palio was run annually on the rst Sunday in Lent on a course outside Verona. According to Boccaccio, the competitors ran naked, and the winner was awarded a piece of green cloth [...]. In fact, a booby' prize was awarded to the runner who came in last; this was a rooster, which the loser was obliged to carry into the city before all the people." Ibid. 13, 272-273. 26 Ibid. 14, 49. 27 Ibid. 3, 13.
28 Ibid., 25. 29 Ibid.