Annick Bureaud (January 1996)
inanimate matter doesn't know a territory, no territory in
the cosmos, nor on the earth considered as planet. The notion
of territory belongs to the living and enrolls in borders
themselves synonymous of power. The power, if it is translated
in strength and the coercion, embodies in an a lot more powerful
manner in the symbols.
is of course obvious in the human societies that elaborated
a whole range of the symbolic of the territory and the power:
customs-officers and polices to the borders, flag, hymn, currency,
official buildings, etc. But it is also true for all forms
of life, animal or plant.
territory, that one generally considers like a real and precise
physical entity (France, my house) raises in fact from the
symbolic and the immaterial. Until now the only intangible
territory was the body, shut in in the limits of its skin,
apparently very real border between the inside and the outside,
the me and the others, but also seat of a whole variety of
enrollments that recognizes it precisely like territory, the
ritual scarifications, the garment, the ethic in our Judeo-Christian
close to 30 years, Fred Forest writes down its work in the
immaterial symbolic of the territory. Of the sociological
Art the Aesthetics of the Communication, of the "Space Medium",
"150 cm of paper newspaper", white space in Le Monde newspaper
in 1972, to the "Artistic Square Meter" in 1977, then to the
"Territory of the Square Meter" since 1980, he questions the
territory of the art, the one of the society and of the information.
the on line stake of the "Territory", he puts the finger -
or rather in this case the foot - on two of the essential
aspects of the electronic networks, with an exceptional acuteness
and his humor (or irony) customary: the cyberespace essentially
like space of symbolic order, entirely contained in the physical
and psychic space of those that are connected at one time.
cyberespace, or space of the networks, is constituted of a
physical reality more known as information superhighways (the
computers joined between them by means of communication),
of a cultural space (the whole of the information and the
accessible knowledge via the networks) and of a myth constructs
and transported by a whole literature, scholarly or popular,
whose most famous example is the Romance " Neuromancien "
of William Gibson. Fundamentally, the cyberespace is not a
physical space, nor a Cartesian space, but well a symbolic
space in which the artist's work finds a place of choice,
introducing the signs of the art, of the territory, of the
power, of the social, occupying all possible interstices.
actions of Fred Forest always appeared in the intervals not
occupied by the institutions, in its "official" use by the
media (television, radio, written press) or in the diversions
of the circuits of the communication and information, The
cyberespace is a space interstice between the physical world
and the virtual world, between the human beings and the machines,
between the cultural communities.
"Territory of the Square Meter" put in inscription the signs
of the power: red telephone, room of the control, electronic
guards, rooms of communications, etc. The "Online Territory"
introduced a meta-communication, meta-signs in the immaterial
and symbolic space of the networks.
the "Online Territory", Fred Forest passes from the Art of
the Communication to the Art of the Networks. This last practice
has two essential directions: the "webitude" (webness in the
definition of the jury of the Price Art Electronica) that
rests on the hyperlinks created or put in work by artists
within the World-Wide-Web. The second, to which this action
belongs, is the enhancement of a world community.
Art of the Communication aimed to make discern to the public
the links of the planet by the new technologies of communication.
With the Art of the Network, it is rather about occupying
a space where these are not anymore the humans who travel
but the information, contemporary shape of the nomadism: where
the individuals don't move anymore on a territory but become
this territory. To the gibsonian metaphor of the mathematical
matrix in which one navigates, substitutes itself the one
of a whole without shape, without end, in constant evolution
that reconfigure itself to the will of the connected individual
connected at a given time, different space according to people
and that exists, under a given shape, only in the physical
space (computer, apartment, office, etc.) and mental (therefore
bodily) of a given individual at a given time. Psyche and
the human being body is the seat of the cyberespace. Skin
is not anymore this hermetic border of an intangible body.
Fred Forest understood it authoritatively while proposing
to his fellow-men to send, for this first action, a symbolic
piece of themselves, the foot. Each one will be able to send
the print of his foot and so to become member of this new
world community constructing itself. But each one, in capable
to reach the universal, symbolic foot, will become, will represent,
at that moment, the whole of the humans. The choice of this
part of the body by Fred Forest is not innocent. Beyond the
trivial and humorous aspect of the thing, the first step is
a matter for the essence of the humanity (of the standing
station of the monkey to the one of the baby that walks for
the first time). The dream achieved to reach the Moon was
embodied in only one strong picture for the whole of the humanity:
the print of the foot of Armstrong in the dust of the satellite.
the conquest of the west (American) to the XIXe century, the
conquest of the space in the years 60/70, the cyberespace
is lived as the new border. At the moment where the cyberespace
becomes clearer, where the myth anchors in rituals and embryos
of traditions, Forest proposes the print of a virtual foot.
A man, with a name, Armstrong, represented the humanity all
whole in this millenary desire to reach the Moon, even if
hundreds of others had participated in the success of the
operation, In the "Online Territory", thousands of anonymous,
connected or not, who will be the representative of the humans
in the newborn adventure of the cyberespace, space of the
sign and knowledge, that covers the planet with a second skin,
(finally?) without border.
of the Sociological art, published in 1974.
for an Aesthetics of the Communication, published in 1985.