Critics have struggled to categorize the art of Nëil Beloufa, who’s made documentaries and video games, as well as sculptures fashioned out of LED light bulbs. Should his movies be shown in a museum or in a theater? Where to exhibit his animated interactive works? Beloufa is fascinated by this urge to place him and his creations. Discussing a piece last year, he said, “This film, it’s not cinema, it’s not art. It’s not in-between.” He then added, “It doesn’t play as an independent movie for a festival or as a piece in a contemporary art context. I think it’s my job to find why it doesn’t fit.” In the first major Beloufa exhibition in Italy, a combination of his digital installations and sculptures points up a central paradox of the information age: the internet is as full of generative possibilities as it is potentially destructive ones. In particular, the works examine identity, parsing how constructing a self online can result in deconstruction IRL (in real life). Screen Talk, an artwork-cum-video game, launches online alongside the main exhibition. This virtual component connects Beloufa’s ambiguous artistic position with the main theme explored in the museum: discerning what’s what and who’s who is difficult in the digital era. —C.J.F.
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