Inferno, I, 32 Letterpress Print, 12" x 11"
This print is not directly related to Glass Heart String Choir music, but it was designed and printed as part of our own Katie Mosehauer’s visual art collection. This intricate letterpress print features a parable by Argentinian essayist and poet Jorge Luis Borges called Inferno 1, 32. Though she first read it decades ago, the parable beautifully captures what it is to struggle to understand ourselves, the world we are in, and our own capacities within it.
The text of the print is handset lead type and the leopard was a three-part illustration carved into linoleum blocks and hand printed on a vintage Vandercook letter press. These prints are 12 inches wide and 11 inches high, printed on rich, fibrous paper with a deckel edge.
Inferno 1, 32
From the twilight of day till the twilight of evening, a leopard, in the last years of the thirteenth century, would see some wooden planks, some vertical iron bars, men and women who changed, a wall and perhaps a stone gutter filled with dry leaves. He did not know, could not know, that he longed for love and cruelty and the hot pleasure of tearing things to pieces and the wind carrying the scent of a deer, but something suffocatexdand rebelled within him and God spoke to him in a dream: “You live and will die in this prison so that a man I know of may see you a certain number of times and not forget you and place your figure and symbol in a poem which has its precise place in the scheme of the universe. You suffer captivity, but you will have given a word to the poem.” God, in the dream, illuminated the animal’s brutishness and the animal understood the reasons and accepted his destiny, but, when he awoke, there was in him only an obscure resignation, a valorous ignorance, for the machinery of the world is much too complex for the simplicity of a beast.
Years later, Dante was dying in Racenna, as unjustified and as lonely as any other man. In a dream, God declared to him the secret purpose of his life and work; Dante, in wonderment, knew at last who and what he was and blessed the bitterness of his life. Tradition relates that, upon waking, he felt that he had received and lost an infinite thing, something he would not be able to recuperate or even glimpse, for the machinery of the world is much too complex for the simplicity of men.