“Fantastic this work, certainly dating back to the lockdown in March  and unfortunately already in an advanced stage of deterioration. Protagonist Dante Alighieri, acknowledged father of Italian literature and language, author of the Divine Comedy, dressed as always in red and crowned with laurel. Arrested as caught without a mask by a policeman with an anti-Covid 19 mask (with an American uniform?) and by another figure in a spacesuit (an astronaut?), also with a mask! Live-size pictures. Many metaphors can be ventured! Florence, via delle Seggiole.” —Arte Leonardo blog, Leonardo da Vinci Art School
“If Dante’s deepest circle of Hell did exist, it would be reserved for Trump and his enablers. It would be reserved for those who betrayed our country and this beautiful blue world for profit. It would be reserved for those who allowed a pandemic to take tens of thousands of lives and affect millions. It would be reserved for those who are silent about the bounties placed on our active duty troops’ heads, who disparage our military, intelligence agencies, our scientists, and health care professionals. It would be reserved for those who place all that we love in danger.
“It would be reserved for those who supposedly care for us, but expect silence about their support of Trump or of those who support him.
“The words inscribed on the gates of hell, according to Dante Alighieri in the Divina Commedia, could be the best way to describe the tumultuous year we have experienced so far…
“The COVID-19 world crisis has shed light into how broken some systems are, how a social net would have helped the ‘most developed country in the world’ be the hero it is in the Hollywood movies.
“Instead, residents of the United States find themselves trapped in a hell only known to them and a select group of countries, like Brazil and Mexico. We currently have no Virgil that will guide us through the complex planes of hell. At this rate, Dante would have never gotten out of the Inferno to ever meet the concentric circles of the Paradiso.” […] –Jorge Luis Galvez Vallejo, Iowa State Daily, July 30, 2020
“Since covid, the DMV has been a nightmare experience especially in New Jersey. It wasn’t until November that the MVC decided that appointments might be better than waiting in line for 3 hours at 5 AM
“I’ve been to the DMV 6 times since May to get my permit / license. I’ve done everything including a BRC to slip the road test so that I could expedite getting my endorsement.
“After making an appointment in November (for my sixth trip) I showed up with all of my documentation this Saturday to finally get it done. I double checked all my paperwork. I brought extra paperwork so I could also get my REAL ID (my license is expiring in a month and my moto permit expires this month).
“I go in at my appointment I ACE the test (I actually already took it before but they literally LOST my score) and I flash my BRC cert from the summer to get my endorsement but despite showing this multiple times before to DMV folks, this woman today told me the small credit card sizes cert was it enough, I needed a larger form (examiners verification) to get my endorsement. I called my BRC office and they had no idea what the form is and have never issued one.
“Does god hate me? Am I am idiot? Should I just sell my bike?” –u/universal_ubiquity, Reddit, 2021
Read the full thread here.
“Voidopolis is a digital performance about loss and memory that is currently unfolding over 45 posts on my Instagram feed (@kmustatea). Started July 1, 2020, it is a loose retelling of Dante’s Inferno, informed by the grim experience of wandering through NYC during a pandemic. Instead of the poet Virgil, my guide is a caustic hobo named Nikita.” –Kat Mustatea
Featuring a Dantesque cast of characters ranging from the Virgilian Nikita to a mohawked Minos, a gruff ferryman named Kim and a withdrawn George Perec, Mustatea’s Voidopolis weaves through the pandemic-deserted streets of Manhattan, a posthuman landscape of absence and loss, bearing witness to its vanishings. Voidopolis won the 2020 Arts & Letters “Unclassifiable” Prize for Literature, and received a Literature grant from the Cafe Royal Cultural Foundation.
To read more about both the process of the piece and its influences, including Dante, see the interview with Mustatea featured in Dovetail Magazine (2020).