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Federico Solmi, The Night Watchers, 2020

4m Video Art 2020

This colorful animation portrays an unusual cast of characters that includes Hernan Cortez, Christopher Columbus, Giuseppe Garibaldi, a Pope, a Cardinal, several indulgent aristocrats, the American founding fathers, and the Byzantine Empress Theodora. Inspired by Arthur Rimbaud’s poem, “The Drunken Boat,” this work parallels the drifting and sinking of a boat lost at sea. Using experimental animation techniques to re-configure historical figures across eras, Solmi explores the myths and lies of traditional ethnocentric American narratives.

Solmi’s animations examine unconscious human impulses, critiquing Western society’s obsession with individual success and displaying contemporary relationships between nationalism, colonialism, religion, consumerism. The Night Watchers immerses viewers in a carnivalesque world where leaders become puppets, animated by computer script and motion capture performance rather than string.

FEDERICO SOLMI. The Night Watchers, 2020. Digital color video, with sound, 3 min., 59 sec. © Federico Solmi. Courtesy of the artist and Luis De Jesus Gallery Los Angeles.


Italy, United States

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