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The Critic Weegee
The Critic, November 22, 1942 [La Critique, 22 novembre 1942] © International Center of Photography. Collection Friedsam.

Thursday 21 March, 2024

How can one criticize the Society of the Spectacle without becoming complicit?

[La Place des images #2] - Thursday, March 21, at 7 p.m.

How can one criticize the Society of the Spectacle without becoming complicit?

With Valérie Belin, Maxime Boidy, Isabelle Bonnet, Antoine d’Agata et Emmanuel Guy.
Thursday, March 21, at 7 p.m.

By selling his pictures of crime scenes, fires and other accidents to the American press and, later in his career, his caricatures of celebrities, Weegee participated throughout his life in the rise of the tabloids, voyeurism and the American star system, as much as he criticized them. The image economy that emerged in the early twentieth century with the advent of mass media led Guy Debord to write, shortly before Weegee’s death, The Society of the Spectacle, an essay in which he decries Western societies saturated with images and alienated by appearances. He criticizes the Spectacle as a relationship mediated by images, which has infiltrated all spheres of social and political life.
With the election of TV stars to the presidential office, Instagram and its 95 million photos and videos posted every day, the explosion of communications and public relations sectors, and the unparalleled popularity of true-crime series, Debord’s observations are more relevant than ever. At the intersection of artistic and political issues, Valérie Belin, Maxime Boidy, Isabelle Bonnet, Antoine D’Agata and Emmanuel Guy will discuss the ability of images to critique the society of the spectacle. What remains of the subversive power of photography, when subjected to mercantile logics? How can one criticize the society of the Spectacle without becoming complicit? What position can images occupy against the Spectacle?

Event held in French.
Tickets are available for purchase online.
Filmed event.

Valérie Belin is a French visual artist. Her photographic series -“Cars” (1998), “Bodybuilders” (1999), “Mannequins” (2003), “Michael Jackson” (2003), to name but a few – interrogate, by bringing into tension the animate and the inanimate, the original and the imitation, the individual and the standardized, the subjubgation of bodies to images. Her work has been exhibited worldwide (recently at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the Rencontres de la Photographie d’Arles, the National Museum of Chengdu in China…) and has entered the collections of a large number of private and public funds and national and international museums. Winner of the Prix Pictet in 2015, she was named Commandeure de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2022 and elected member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts in 2024.

Maxime Boidy is a lecturer in visual studies at Gustave Eiffel University, and a member of the LISAA laboratory (EA 4120). His research focuses on the intellectual history of visual knowledge and political iconography. He recently published La Société n’existe pas. Images of civil war under Margaret Thatcher (Même pas l’hiver, 2022).

Isabelle Bonnet worked in fashion photography for many years before resuming her art history studies and completing a PhD on the social imaginaries of the crime scene. She curated the exhibition Home Sweet Home, 1970- 2018: the British home, a political history at Rencontres d’Arles in 2019 and 2023, and co-curated the exhibition Casa Susanna at Rencontres d’Arles / Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto). She has contributed to several publications, including Mauvais Genre, Les travestis à travers un siècle de photographie amateur (Textuel, 2026) and the Weegee exhibition catalog (Textuel, 2024).

Antoine d’Agata is a photographer, filmmaker and member of the Magnum Photos agency. He studied at the ICP (New York) with Nan Goldin and Larry Clark, and has won the Prix Niépce (2001) and the Prix du livre d’auteur des Rencontres d’Arles (2013). His work can be understood as an exploration of contemporary violence (whether economic and political, physical or sexual). To date, he has published some fifty works. His work is represented by Galerie des filles du Calvaire in Paris, Magnum Gallery in London, MEM Gallery in Tokyo, Kahmann Gallery in Amsterdam and Carles Tache Gallery in Barcelona. It has been the focus of numerous solo exhibitions and is represented in many public and private collections around the world.

Emmanuel Guy is a teacher, curator and art and literature historian. His research on Guy Debord and the Situationist International has given shape to exhibitions, including Guy Debord. Un art de la guerre, at the Bibliothèque nationale de France in 2013, as well as various publications including Lire Debord, published by L’Échappée in 2016, and Guy Debord’s Le Jeu de la guerre. L’émancipation comme projet, published by Éditions B42 in 2020. He is a member of the Treize production and exhibition collective in Paris. He is currently a high school teacher in Saint-Denis.

La Place des images

La Place des images is a new event format inaugurated in 2023 taking the form of a free conversation open to the public aimed at exploring, over the course of an evening, a vast photographic horizon and collectively examining its ramifications.

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The Critic Weegee

Thursday March 21, 2024

La place des images

How can one criticize the Society of the Spectacle without becoming complicit?

With Valérie Belin, Maxime Boidy, Isabelle Bonnet, Antoine d’Agata et Emmanuel Guy. Thursday, March 21, at 7 p.m. By selling his…

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Guided tour with the curator of the exhibitions

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Guided tours

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