Il canto dei suicidi is an immersive project freely inspired by the Canto XIII of Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy. The original story informs us that the souls of suicides are plunged into Hell, reincarnated as trees with sinuous branches. Condemned to this eternal fixity, these half-human half-vegetal entities sustain the appetite of the harpies who devour their branches. Il canto dei suicidi is based on various patterns present in Dante's story : the perpetual cycle of punishment ; the reincarnation in plants ; the amputation by devouring ; the domination of the harpies ; the separation of souls from their bodies when they return to Earth on the Day of Judgment. To these are added two elements : 1, the act of suicide ; 2, the period preceding the act. These motifs are re-contextualized in a unitary musical and visual environment within which the visitor can circulate freely (on the ground and in the air). The general framework consists of a gigantic rectangular platform surrounded by a forest. It is home to half human, half plant trees, integrating the souls of suicides. Above, suspended in the sky, float huge platforms (or housing units). Each platform stages an allegorical stage ranging from the mental state that precedes the suicide, through the suicide and the torture that the souls undergo while being devoured by the harpies, until the reincarnation in entities without body the days of the Last Judgment. The musical environment that surrounds each platform envelops the visitor with a sound space related to the mental state of each place. To navigate this allegorical universe, the walker is free to circulate in the proposed environment (horizontally and vertically, thanks to the joystick), while being helped by visual indicators present in the environment. A first horizontal navigation succeeds a vertical stroll that allows it to fly. This need to climb into the air to reach the different structures in the sky allows the visitor to be continually confronted with the possibility of his fall.
The project is part of the "Immersion Dante" research project proposed by Art Zoyd and whose first part was directed by the composer Gérard Hourbette and Laura Manelli : https://www.artzoyd.net/projet-vr-immersion-dante/