48 Dante Variations. Caroline Bergvall Reads The Inferno December 15, 2009 – Tags: Avant-Gard, Books and Art, Dante
As of May, 2000 the British Library housed 48 different translations of Dante’s Inferno into English.
Poet and sound artist Caroline Bergvall gathers the opening lines of each translation in her sound piece VIA (48 Dante Variations).
Bergvall reads the opening of each translation then names the translator and the date of the publication. The result is powerful. The overarching monotony sprinkled with the subtlety of each translation and the hypnotic drone of Bergvall’s voice leaves the listener transfixed as they await the next rendering of Dante’s lines. The piece conveys the inherent complexity of the art of translation and illuminates the uniqueness of each translator’s work.
Listen to the entire piece here
Bergvall’s piece was recently featured in the fantastic two part series “Women of the Avant-Gard.” The series, produced by the Poetry Foundation, samples the work of women artists who appear on UbuWeb.