The Aleph
Jorge Luis Borge
Speculative Design
International Outdoor Tour
In the 1945 short story, ‘The Aleph’, Borges attempts to express the philosophy of Thomas Hobbes’s ‘Hic-Stans’ combined with the mathematics of Georg Cantor’s ‘Transfinite Cardinals’, through the means of a fictional (and often fantastical) autobiographical narrative. Set in Buenos Aires in the 1940’s we follow Borges reflective internal monologue through a series of events in which he grieves for the unrequited love of his deceased mistress (Beatriz Viterbo), attempts to undermine the publishing of her first cousin’s (Carlos Daneri) epic poem and the revealing and destruction of the Aleph – a point in space containing all other points. The text reflects on Borges real-life relationships through a comedic allegory of Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy’, whilst simultaneously alluding to many other works of classical literature and the greater world outside the text.
The design aims to express a nostalgic atmosphere through fragmented and weathered architecture stylised in the likeness of Buenos Aires. The skeletal design enables the landscape of the venue (such as Epidaurus, Stone Henge, or the New York skyline) to emerge through the stage, evoking an ephemeral and timeless aura around the aleph. The clean steel structure contains the narrative within a framework akin to a diary.
Model Box
Costume Design
Story Board
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