Ageless and timeless, the classic novels still remain popular with readers of all ages to this day. They deal with the human condition and issues to do with love, loss and overcoming adversity. Even though we live in a modern technological world, many of these stories are still relevant. In an age of memes and information overload, many people don’t ‘read’ as they used to, they ‘graze’ chunks of information. This begs the question how do we get an audience to engage with these classic stories again? How can we make it more engaging for a demographic used to interactivity and digital technology?

This project challenged us to question and consider new and unique ways to express the content of a classic novel. Is it a publication, an interactive website, a smart phone app, does it become a brand, or is it an event of some sort? We needed to choose a classic novel and then interpret the narrative visually for a specific audience. I opted for
Dante’s Inferno.

A classic novel that questions morality, faith and the afterlife. A generational topic that is even more relevant in contemporary time as the subject of ethics has gotten more complicated and is ever evolving. As a old piece of literature, with outdated language, I wanted to reinterpret the narrative for a modern audience. I thought about making it more visual and depicting the story in a way that draws on the physical aspects of hell in the form of a large map.

Labels of each circle of the underworld are placed the right way up. The viewer however is looking at the seemingly upright visual mapping the wrong way, and hell exists beneath upside down. Elements of the setting such as gates, towers and fires all point up, but in fact are directed downwards.

I integrated more modern slang and pop culture references in order to associate contemporary references a modern audience would have knowledge of to each of the complicated, sub-sections of hell. The lengthy format of both sides of the map insinuate the depth of the underworld as emphasized within Inferno.