The Evil Empire - Federico Solmi
“The Evil Empire” is a video animation that takes place in the year 2046 in the heart of the Vatican City. Surrounded by the glorious frescoes and wealth of his St. Peter’s Basilica apartment, a fictional Pope is portrayed as a young man struggling with an addiction to pornography. Pope Urban LXIX has embraced the ways of the 21st century, fulfilling all of his vices to no end; violence is perpetrated through his troops, while he whittles away the days having orgies and indulging in gluttony.
Understanding the mechanisms of celebrity culture and its power within the public today, Pope Urban LXIX has been able to weave an empire in contemporary society as powerful as at the peak of Catholicism. The American way is the catalyst by which he can maintain power, capturing the minds of people in a garish show of narcissism. Everyone wants their fifteen minutes of fame and Pope Urban LXIX has learned to extend that deadline to a lifetime. Enchanted by a magnificent image and manipulated by the hegemonic power of the Vatican Empire, this world is one in which Pope Urban LXIX can do whatever he pleases. Without any check, this power devours him, becoming a fierce warning for the real world of today.
Within this dystopian vision of contemporary society, the artist gives the audience a glimmer of hope. In the end Pope Urban LXIX is ironically sent on a journey through hell where he pays for all of his sins. The video ends on a carousel of blood and on a positive note that jolts the audience to attention and gives them a chance to reverse the damage of corruption in today’s society. The peace that follows is fleeting as the cycle starts once again from the beginning.