THE GREAT FARCE
The Great Farce, 2017, nine channel video installation, color, sounds, 8:11 minutes.
Installation view of Schauspiel Frankfurt in Frankfurt, Germany. Dimensions: 18 x 120 yd.
THE GREAT FARCE
Reality has become an eternal amusement theme park in Federico Solmi’s multichannel projection for the 2017 B3 Biennial of the Moving Image in Frankfurt, Germany. It has become a place where the world's leaders can rewrite, fabricate, or travel to any event of the past, present, or future. They entertain, distract, and misdirect the world's population through spectacle. Epic battles, great adventures, and lavish ceremonies are staged as re-enactments of historic events. Hysterical visitors rush between the carousels, Ferris wheels, and food stands to watch. Behind the delighted crowd, advertisement billboards and park attractions light up, forming a psychedelic skyline. Through the leaders’ mania, carnival rides transform into historic monuments, to be toppled like Don Quixote’s windmill giants. The carousel horses become a charging cavalry, rocking ships turn into an armada, and Ferris wheels spin like helicopters.
The leaders grow to be idolized celebrities, reward ceremonies display giant portraits of the leaders on jumbo-tron screens as they receive heaps of military trophies and medals. The marching rulers parade between the rides, accompanied by missiles, tanks, and helicopters. They arrive at the White House, furnished as a Roman villa, where the American Presidents host an emperor's ball.
As the fantastical re-enactments of history become more irrational and surreal, the leaders gain a feverish madness for power. News sources from the present are instantaneously altered into modern day myths. The resulting chaos dissolves any distinction between truth and myth, immortalizing the leaders, and elevating them as Gods to a faux Mount Olympus. From its heavenly terrace, they look out to admire their counterfeit universe.
Projected on nine screens across the facade of the Schauspiel Frankfurt, the videos are the result of Solmi’s elaborate process that combines traditional drawing and painting with gaming and digital technology. 3-D models of characters and environments are built and texture mapped with scans of hand-painted imagery. A virtual world is created within a game engine, where each scene is staged as a movie set. The characters act as puppets, animated through motion capture and computer scripts rather than strings. Scenes are recorded by an in-game camera from a first-person view, giving the perspective of a director or voyeur.