Cities and Memory explores Dante’s Inferno

This image from the Metropolitan Museum is in the public domain

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

Artists depicted the plague in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, in both paintings and literature. Pieter Breugel The Elder’s The Triumph of Death is one example, and Giovanni Boccaccio’s The Decameron is another.

The year 2020 has been a hellish year, even for those who have remained healthy, haven’t lost a loved one to COVID-19, and have been able to work from home while watching the stock market rise. But for far too many Americans, there were empty places at the Thanksgiving table, they haven’t been able to work from home if they still have a job, and they don’t own assets. No person is an island, and even if one is healthy and financially secure, one can’t travel, can’t go to a movie or a restaurant or the theater, and much of the enjoyment in life is gone.

To mark the 700th anniversary of Dante’s Divine Comedy, Cities and Memory asked, “What could be a more appropriate project to end 2020 than creating the sounds of Hell itself?” They asked more than 80 artists from all over the world to bring Dante’s vision of Hell to life through sound.

The interactive map of Dante’s Hell with carefully created sounds is well worth spending at least a few minutes on.

I enjoyed it, and I hope you do, too.

And I think everyone will join me in hoping for a better year in 2021.

Dr. Daniel Fink is a leading noise activist based in the Los Angeles area. He is the founding chair of The Quiet Coalition, an organization of science, health, and legal professionals concerned about the impacts of noise on health, environment, learning, productivity, and quality of life in America. Dr Fink also is the interim chair of Quiet Communities’ Health Advisory Council, and he served on the board of the American Tinnitus Association from 2015-2018.

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