In 2005, after his studies at the École Polytechnique and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a career as an economist, Marc Lenot (b. 1948) reinvented himself as an art critic. For the last thirteen years, he has written an online reference blog on contemporary art, Lunettes Rouges, published by Le Monde (http://lunettesrouges.blog.lemonde.fr/). In 2009, he obtained a Master’s Degree from the School of Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (EHESS) with a thesis on the Czech photographer Miroslav Tichý. In 2016, under the direction of Michel Poivert, he obtained a PhD from the University of Paris with a doctoral thesis on contemporary experimental photography. His book on the same subject, “Jouer contre les Appareils,” was published in June 2017 by Éditions Photosynthèses in Arles (http://photographie-experimentale.com/). He was the first “digital” member of AICA (International Association of Art Critics) in France, and in March 2014, competing with nine other French art critics, he won the AICA France Art Criticism Prize, awarded by an international jury, for his presentation of the work of the French-Ecuadorian artist Estefanía Peñafiel Loaiza.
Articles of Marc Lenot
Désillusion: Vilém Flusser et le conflit israélo-palestinien / Disillusion: Vilém Flusser and the the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
This article presents ten essays written by Vilém Flusser between 1967 and 1991 on the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Some of these essays were not published. Although Flusser clearly asserts his Judaism and his pride in being a Jew, he is at the same time very critical of Zionism and the State of Israel. First, he thinks that the very existence of a Jewish national state is in contradiction with the ideal of Judaism―namely, to dedicate oneself to others―and he assumes therefore that Zionism, as a national state-building ideology and apparatus, can only fail. He also criticizes the relation between Israel and the Arab peoples, analyzing it as colonial domination and considering that Israel has failed to be the beacon of liberation and struggle against Western domination that it could and should have been. He hopes that Jews and Arabs (a formula he prefers to Israelis and Palestinians, as less grounded in territories) can overcome the conflict, draw closer and construct a new, non-Zionist model together, free of Western influences. Although this might sound utopian, Flusser trusts the Jews’ ability to contribute to such a model. These essays, especially the one entitled Disillusionment, written in Israel during his first trip in 1980, have a rather sad, bitter and disenchanted flavor. Flusser made his second and last trip to Israel in September 1991, two months before his death.
Flusser et les photographes, les photographes et Flusser / Flusser and photographers, photographers and Flusser / Flusser e os fotógrafos, os fotógrafos e Flusser
The concept of experimental photography has rarely been defined, nor has it been the subject of much research in studies of contemporary photography. Vilém Flusser is one of the few writers who, in his book Towards a Philosophy of Photography, proposed a definition of experimental photography as “playing against the apparatus”, i.e. the practice of some photographers who do not abide by the rules of photography and perturb the standard operations of the apparatus by playing against the camera. Aside from this conceptual definition, Flusser himself gave few examples of this practice, principally Andreas Müller-Pohle and Joan Fontcuberta. While expanding this definition, this essay sheds light on contemporary photographers whose work can be qualified as experimental in this respect. Some deconstruct the camera, reinventing it or photographing without a lens (pinhole) or even without a camera (photograms). Some undo the image creation process, playing with time, with light, with the chemical development process or with image printing. And some redefine the author-photographer, erasing him or giving him a different role in the photographic process. Contemporary experimental photography is not a school, nor a movement, but simply a current, a moment between the decline of traditional documentary analog photography and the rise of digital photography.