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Earth’s Centre by Sterling Basement
Created for Project Inferno – Cities and memory
Audio Collage 13:42

Earth’s Centre  was created for Project Inferno, a celebration of the 700th Anniversary of Dante’s Inferno. The work explores the idea of gravity and as Dante and Virgil get close to Lucifer strange things begin to happen. As they climb his hairy haunches to get out of hell the world seems to turn upside down and they “pass the point from which all weights are drawn.”

For this telling of Dante’s tale, the center of the earth is imagined as an anechoic chamber.

This incarnation of Sterling Basement was John Roach (USA), Jason Glasser (France), Jerome Lorichon (France), Craig Dongoski (USA), and Carlo Giordani (Italy).



We begin our final descent into hell, tumbling down its ledges like the trash thrown from Akio Suzuki’s garbage can in his Kaidan ni Mono wo Nageru. We are pulled by gravity.

Frozen core

We find ourselves in the frozen wasteland gazing out toward Lucifer, locked in the ice, at the center of the universe. As the frozen path begins to fracture beneath us, we run, and leap onto his hairy haunches to climb our way out of hell.

When we had reached the point at which the thigh  
revolves, just at the swelling of the hip,  
my guide, with heavy strain and rugged work,  
reversed his head to where his legs had been  
and grappled on the hair, as one who climbs — 
I thought that we were going back to Hell.

Great inversion

As we climb, it seems that gravity and our compass fall apart. Are we climbing up? Down?

Where is the ice? And how is he so placed
head downward? Tell me, too, how has the sun
in so few hours gone from night to morning?

As we reach the center of the Earth, our confusion increases.

I raised my eyes, believing I should see
the half of Lucifer that I had left;
instead I saw him with his legs turned up;
and if I then became perplexed, do let
the ignorant be judges — those who can
not understand what point I had just crossed.

Without gravity without echo

The weightless center of the earth is an anechoic chamber at the core of this infernal inverted beehive.

you passed the point to which, from every part, all weights are drawn


Gravity begins to lift us and we fly sightless away from evil. We feel for the vibrations of our fellow travelers.”

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