Fred Forest - Retrospective
Sociologic art - Aesthetic of communication
Exhibition Generative art - November, 2000
Exhibition Biennale 3000 - Sao Paulo - 2006
> Editorial
> Artworks/Actions
> Criticism
> Biography
> Bibliography
> Synthetic note
> Retrospective online
> Audio conference
> Videos

Louis-José Lestocart English version
Louis-José Lestocart : l'oeuvre-système invisible ou l'O-S-I English version
Vinton Cerf English version
Priscila Arantes Curator of the exhibiton "Retrospective au Paço das Artes" English version
Michaël F Leruth English version
Evelyne Rogue French version
Annick Bureaud English version
Mario Costa English version
Jean Devèze English version
Vilem Flusser English version
Derrick de Kerckhove English version
Pierre Lévy English version
Marshall McLuhan English version
Pierre Moeglin English version
Frank Popper English version
François Rabate English version
Pierre Restany English version
Pierre Restany English version
Pierre Restany English version
Edgar Morin English version
Harald Szeemann English version
Sophie Lavaud English version
1 - Synthetisis note on the activities of Fred Forest
2 - Manifests Sociological Art (1974) and Aesthetics of the Communication (1983)
3 - The Aesthetics of the Communication by Fred Forest (1983)
4 - For an Aesthetics of Communication - Fred Forest
5 - The Video family by Fred Forest (1976)
6 - Learn to watch TV through the radio by Fred Forest and Pierre Moeglin (1984)   
7 - Why present his candidacy for President of the Bulgarian TV by Fred Forest (1991)




by Annick Bureaud (January 1996)



The 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.


It 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.


The 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 societies, etc.


Since 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.


With 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.

The 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.


The 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.

The "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.


With 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.


The 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.


After 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.

Manifest of the Sociological art, published in 1974.

Manifest for an Aesthetics of the Communication, published in 1985.


Presentation | Exhibition | Reflection | News | Contact

Copyrights Fred Forest