CURRENT FEATURE: Federico Solmi
ANDREA BLANCH: Your work consistently criticizes the failure of modern society and the leaders who are undeservingly held up on a pedestal. Is there any aspect of government and leadership that you nd to be more effective and genuine rather than dishonest and greedy?
FEDERICO SOLMI: Well, I think it’s very dif cult to nd authentic leadership throughout human history. The moment you want to become a political leader, you become a certain kind of person. It’s hypocritical, be- cause power is ruthless; it’s cynical. So it’s kind of hard for me to nd, even in the most utopian and idealistic leader, one that doesn’t have to deal with horrible decision making. Because in the end, a political leader, from my understanding, is protecting the interest of just one group of people, a nation. They have to make ruthless decisions against other countries, against other interests. One of my typical examples is the gure of George Washington. Today he’s considered the greatest hero of American history. He did incredible things for Ameri- can society and American people, but he did horrible things towards the Natives. He was called the “Town Destroyer” by the Lakota Native Americans. It’s shock- ing to see how such a celebrated hero is seen as an incredible, idealistic leader. Meanwhile, on the other side of history, he is seen as a murderer. In my Utopia, I want to see a mythical leader from 360 degrees. I want to see how it was for the American, the Native, and for others.
ANDREA: Are there any heroes left in the world that you can satirize?
FEDERICO: Oh, there are plenty. I’m sure I can find a dark side in many, even the people remembered as the most incredible. I have a hard time with Abraham Lincoln, you know. I didn’t want to put him into the mix, because I genuinely like his history, but I know he had some dark sides, too.
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