The Map of Hell
Posted by <Ruba Al-Sweel> on 2022-02-15
The Map of Hell takes cues from two seminal works: 1) La Mappa dell'Inferno by Sandro Botticelli and 2) Clearnet vs Dark Forest by Berlin-based artist Caroline Busta.
Akin to the original Map of Hell and Busta’s diagram, the internet here is reimagined as a layered and ever-deepening geology, with various levels of access and visibility. Viewers are taken on a gradually descending journey, only to realize that the only way out is through. Interplaying with the sound of dial-up internet is footage of retro Khaleeji* music and Arabic pop from the early 2000s, an era when more and more homes in the region embraced broadband internet. The songs fading in and out of view play like a repressed memory; the tracks selected for their widespread circulation at the time as BitTorrent file distribution systems became a staple on most desktops and Youtube tutorials revolutionized the way disparate parts of the world connected with and created global culture.
As internet lingo is dominated by aquatic terms (surfing the web, streaming the film, the screen is frozen…etc), the absurd journey is set in the ocean, where, ostensibly, vast undersea cables reside. *Used to refer to people of the Arabian Peninsula, especially those associated with the Gulf Cooperation Council states.