urban intervention, Rome
Dante Aleghieri, 1265 - 1321
Yes, that Italian poet from the thirteenth century. The one Bob Dylan sang about. He was born in Florence, backed the wrong political party, and spent the last decades of his life in exile writing the greatest trilogy ever. (The Florence City Council rescinded Dante's exile sentence in June, 2008). From hell through purgatory and then to paradise, Dante got back at everybody who ever harmed him, his words having a strength and a resonance that has echoed through the intervening centuries. The fact that he wrote in Italian, the language of the 99%, rather than Latin, hasn't hurt his popularity. I am in awe of the power of his poetry.
What would happen if Dante lived today? As an opposition voice blocked by the ruling power structure, would he take his words to the street? Recently I have been working on a project that supposes that Dante was a tagger, his lines mixing with other graffiti here in Roma.
You will leave behind everything
you hold most dear Paradiso canto xvii lines 55-56
There is no greater sadness
Than to remember happiness
In times of misery Inferno canto v lines 121-123
Necessity brings him here, not pleasure Inferno canto xii line 87
Your spirit is assailed by cowardice Inferno canto ii line 45
Come and see your Rome how she weeps Purgatorio canto vi line 112