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Jean-Louis Poitevin

Jean-Louis Poitevin is a writer, an art critic, and a lecturer. Doctor of philosophy, he is the author of several books and articles on contemporary art and on literature. He also writes fiction. Between 1998 and 2004, he was cultural attaché and director of the French institute in Stuttgart and in Innsbruck. He is also very familiar with Korea, where he goes every year and gives lectures, as well as writing essays and articles about Korean artists. His research and teaching interests are centered on images and post-history. He is the founder and the editor-in-chief of the online magazine WWW.TK-21.com. His most recent book is Jonas ou l’extinction de l’attente, published by Éditions Tinbad in Paris in January 2021.

Articles of Jean-Louis Poitevin

Aveuglement théorique et insouciance éthique : Sur quelques faiblesses congénitales chez les sectateurs français de l'image... photographique en particulier

In a rather personal and somewhat polemical essay titled “Theoretical blindness and ethical recklessness / On some congenital weaknesses among French cultists of the image ... the photographic image in particular”, the philosopher Jean-Louis Poitevin points out the indifference of the great majority of French theoreticians, historians and critics of photography and images toward Flusser’s thinking.  He outlines the essentialist approach of most French theoreticians of the image, following Barthes (and, before him, Sartre), as one  centered on the index, on the real, on the absence / presence concept. It neglects the multipolar approach of thinkers like Vilém Flusser, who, instead of focusing on the narrow subject itself, took a wider approach, including history, anthropology, and philosophy: Flusser analyzed the parameters of production and diffusion of images. As part of an historical framework, he developed the concept of technical images, emphasising the social and political place of photographers within the apparatus.  He also investigated the dialectics between text and images. Flusser’s concepts go against the grain of the dominant French thinking on images and photography, and his thinking undermines the traditional French dogma in this domain. He represented a danger for this dogma, and because of that, he has been kept in obscurity and ostracized, and is still relatively unknown in France.

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