Vienna's Secession presents "EBB & Neïl Beloufa: Pandemic Pandemonium"

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Vienna's Secession presents "EBB & Neïl Beloufa: Pandemic Pandemonium"
EBB & Neïl Beloufa, Pandemic Pandemonium, installation view, Secession 2022, photo: Oliver Ottenschläger.

VIENNA.- Screen Talk—Cheat Island—Console of Quiz—Press Key Port—Hand of Vengeance—Tax Haven Roulette—Souvenir Shop: these are the various stations of Pandemic Pandemonium. In fact, the whole exhibition is a kind of walk-on game board: you move from zone to zone, gathering information and clues for the quiz questions and small challenges to be solved at the “gaming machines” where you can try your luck and—with a little dexterity and steady nerves—even win genuine works of art. Don’t be scared! The game is humorous and parodic, with the answers hidden in the sixteen episodes of the video installation Screen Talk, and a visit to Cheat Island could be prove helpful, too, though you might find yourself in an ethical dilemma afterwards.

Screen Talk, with which the exhibition opens, actually dates from 2014 (!): a parody of trashy soap operas originally titled Home Is Wherever I’m with You with a plot about a global pandemic, the hunt for a cure, ostensible personal sacrifices and crises, and interpersonal communication restricted to computer screens. In the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, these “screen talks” became common reality for many of us. That also made the work newly relevant to Beloufa, and he worked with EBB to extend and adapt it under the title Screen Talk. The film became a series of mini-episodes, to which they added programmed interactive elements to turn them into an online game. If you’re more interested in crypto art, the exhibition offers you an opportunity to colorize the digital template Hand of Vengeance to your liking. Then buy the picture in the form of an NFT (non-fungible token) and stash it in your personal crypto wallet.

Over the past more than two years, the pandemic with all the complications it has caused—numerous exhibitions had to be canceled or postponed—has prompted many artists to shift their practices to a more sustainable footing; some, Beloufa among them, have explored creative alternatives in the virtual universe. Turning to playful interactive formats (gaming) and studying crypto art and phenomena such as NFTs, he has expanded his collaborative field and recently founded the production company EBB, which describes itself as a “node and platform for the distribution of cultural experiences and products specializing in the use of Web3 solutions” (see its website at

Pandemic Pandemonium is an enlarged version of the exhibition first presented at Clearing, Brussels (2022).

Neïl Beloufa was born in Paris in 1985 and lives and works in Montreuil.

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