The Death of the Pope, 2023 

In January 2023, the members of the Feel Good Cooperative, a collective founded in Rome in 2020 by the artist Pauline Curnier Jardin with architect and researcher Serena Olcuire and a group of Colombian trans sex workers, went to visit Benedict XVI in his burial chamber at St. Peter’s Basilica.  


The Death of the Pope follows the encounter step by step, trailing the sex workers and the crowd of worshippers as they cross St. Peter’s nave. A group of trans subjectivities penetrate the collective mourning of a Pope known for his transphobic stances. With their presence and proud gait—as performers within the collective performance—the members of the Cooperative blend into the scenography and the baroque ritual in which they take part.


The film is included together with two other titles, also made by the collective in Rome, in Triviale, the exhibition featuring the work of Pauline Curnier Jardin with Feel Good Cooperative. Fireflies/Lucciole (2021), The Death of the Pope (2023) and Le Colonne della Colombo (2023), set respectively along Via Appia Antica, the nave of St. Peter’s and Via Cristoforo Colombo, create a trivium in the exhibition, a junction between three emblematic sites that the protagonists playfully cross, creating a theatrical set in which both the public and the domestic nature of sex work are enacted and humorously elaborates on themes of gender identity, migration and the legacy of colonialism.