Régis Debray
Le Musée Imaginaire. Do we Need Another Museum of Contemporary Art?
20 October 2016, at 7 pm

Dialogue between Régis Debray and Nicola Setari

In the wake of the debate around Brussels’ future Museum of Contemporary Art, the Boghossian Foundation has invited internationally renowned French philosopher and mediologist Régis Debray to share his reflections on contemporary art and on the role of museums today. Since the publication of Vie et mort de l’image in 1992, a book that has become a classic of art and image theory, Debray has maintained a critical position towards contemporary art and what he considers its focus on communication and its inability to generate cultural transmission. Many of his predictions regarding the proliferation of images and the consequent impoverishment of their capacity to function as symbols for Nation-states have been confirmed. The dialogue with Nicola Setari, the curator of public programs at the Boghossian Foundation, will also be the occasion to discuss Debray’s critique of the recurrence of iconoclasm and of image wars between the West and the East throughout history and in the present.


About Régis Debray

Régis Debray is a French philosopher, writer, former government official and academic. He is known for his theorization of mediology — a critical theory of the long-term transmission of cultural meaning in human society and of the impact of technological development on the evolution of culture. He introduced this field of research at the end of the seventies with the notion of mediasphere at its core and has now several important academic representatives in France, gathered around the journal Medium, founded by Debray.  He is the embodiment of the “intellectuel engagé”, known for associating with Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara in Bolivia in the 60s and advancing Salvador Allende’s presidency in Chile in the early 1970s. He returned to France in 1973 and later held several official posts in the French government, which included being Francois Mitterand’s advisor for Foreign Affairs. In recent years he has dedicated much attention to the question of secularization in France, “la laicité”, and to the condition of Christian minorities in the Middle East. Among his most know publications dedicated to art and the history of images : Vie et mort de l’image, une histoire du regard en Occident, Gallimard, 1992 and Le stupéfiant image. De la grotte Chauvet au Centre Pompidou, Gallimard, 2013. Among his most recent publications is Madame H., Gallimard, 2015.


About Nicola Setari

Nicola Setari is a researcher, curator, and writer.  He studied philosophy at the State University of Milan graduating in aesthetics with an M.A. thesis entitled Régis Debray: the Notion of Mediashpere (2002). Since then he has combined academic research with curatorial and editorial practice in the field of contemporary art. He has taught at KU Leuven and the New Academy for Fine Arts in Milan, and has worked as a curator and editor for Contour in Mechelen, BOZAR in Brussels and Documenta in Kassel. Between 2006-2009 he was the editor in chief of Janus Magazine. For the Boghossian Foundation – Villa Empain he curates the public program Embassy of Uncertain Shores.
He holds a PhD in the History of Architecture and Art Sciences (IUAV University Venice).
Recently, he co-edited with Hilde Van Gelder, Allan Sekula: the Mining Section (Bureau des Mines). Collaborative Notes, ARAMer, 2016.


Centre for art and dialogue between the cultures of the East and the West
Avenue Franklin Roosevelt 67
B – 1050 Brussels

In French

Price: 12€
7€ for the members of the Circle of the Villa
4€ for people under 26

E. info@boghossianfoundation.be
T. +32 2 627 52 30