Fred Forest - Retrospective
Sociologic art - Aesthetic of communication
Exhibition Generative art - November, 2000
Exhibition Biennale 3000 - Sao Paulo - 2006
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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 Louis-José LESTOCART

Toward the end of the years 70, by influences at a time philosophical and sociological, is born the idea of an art in "shared space" asking for the real involvement of the public. In 1977, Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz, creators of the Electronic International Café, lead experiences of interactive dance with satellite (to the period the only way to distribute the image beyond the oceans) by couplings of video images. This possibility, while opening a window on the world, to transmit a living event to an infinity of people, Fred Forest, pioneer of a sociological Art (1974) and of an Aesthetic of the communication with Mario Costa (1983), had already instituted it since 1972, making some experiences in the beginning by the only slant of the telephone, first media of mass communication. Forest will often make on the telephone. (The Capitol, 1972; Global telephonic sculpture, 1985; The telephonic Faucet or how to fill a reservoir by telephone, 1992). What is normal for a former agent of the Postes and Telecommunications having found in his profession a intuitive and intimate knowledge of the networks. Using the urban and interurban networks, as well as of the automatic answering machines, he built, end of the years 60, a new art, an art of the communication, trying to make assimilate it the shapes and the logic of the mass-media. Art constructed on the Theory of information of C. Shannon and W. Weaver and after their work Mathematical theory of the communication (1949). As for the American artists, this theory of information is only there to better signal everything that is a matter of incertitude. It’s especially to extract the "noise" (waves embarrassing to the good receipt of the images/signals) of the information and by extension everything that can parasitize it, embarrass it, to make sense: that means a great part of information. At the same time, he attacks the video image (against the television) but finally in a way different from the American school at the same time; far from takeoffs-decodings of Nam June Paik and Wolf Wostell, (years 60), from the machine vision of Steina and Woody Vasulka, coming closer more of the epistemologico-social devices of Peter Campus and Dan Graham (years 70), recordings of auto-scopie and of auto-perception (Self-regulating Dynamic Field). In Electronic auto-perception (1974), Forest seems to borrow this same way. With soberness and irony, he pursues a pitiless exploration of the daily. But where Campus and especially Graham, using the closed circuit of the camcorder, are interesting especially to the phenomena of perception, to the construction of the personality and the mechanisms of the body and the thought, Archeology of the present (1973), placing continuously all a street under the eye of camcorder, also there in closed circuit, looks for the "unpredictability" of the daily. There finding a very powerful factor of fascination and emotional (present also in the study of the Gestures in the professions and the social reports with among others those of "professor" Vilem Flüsser, achieved at the same time of 1972 to 1974). Where Graham creates settings in abyss between public and private, interior and outside that, while denouncing processes of control, of observation, or even of conditioning, generate a feeling of trap, an shock inspiring, by reaction, a fast manoeuvring of the attention, a start, a revolt of ontological character revolt, Forest, him, invites to a thought, more moral or even ethical, on our relation to the time - culminating in Here and now (1983), video installation, showing some games between deferred and direct, through the image of a system of relation in real time juxtaposing the physical reality of the street to its "rebuilt cathodic representation" in the gallery of the street Guénégaud (Archeology of the present). He calls also the creativeness of the public that is invited to participate by his reactions in the production of the work. The visitors entering in the gallery of the Guénégaud street have the big surprise to see there are already. And that they are passed from their daily life to the few comfortable statute of representation. We slip in continuity from one reality to the other, and both are strangely similar.

Research around the real-time, time of the thought (and therefore of interpretation and of cognition), objective and conscious time of the experience, he will lead it in agitator. From where his permanent presence at a time in and next to his works. Himself becomes an ultimate guinea pig. About him, Frank Popper declares that he intends himself "to create micro-events of communication permitting the establishment of a circulation of information by a direct intervention on the environment ". From then his art defines itself by constructed interventions according to the mechanisms of production of the artistic and commercial value. Extreme sophistication or deconstruction and reinvestment of these mechanisms? They use by turns, written press, telephone, fax, video, radio, television, computer, electronic luminous newspapers, networks telematics, and the new technologies. All these questions of the device, the involvement or interactivity precede and announce the art on the Web. Internet is of fact very quickly reinvested by the artist like virtual place and space by excellence putting in relation the individuals between them. Parcel/Network, numeric work bets on sale at Hôtel Drouot, 1996; Center of the World, Internet interactive installation in Espace Pierre Cardin, in Paris, 1999; Color Network or the skill to sell some numeric monochromes, immaterial if it is, as object of art in Drouot Montaigne, 2000; The Techno-Marriage happening at a time on Internet and calling on the techniques of "increased reality". This demonstrations of "sociological art", aiming to a cultural destabilization, it can be also a "research without picture", such of the spaces in newspapers (publication in Le Monde of a white oblong space, titled Title of the work 150 cm2 of paper newspaper in 1972; last of Liberation cover, carrier of the mention "Certificate of artist" and transformed in artistic space in 1979). Raw demand of an artistic persona that one recovers in the exhibition of Mrs. Soleil in the flesh (1975), in the search by nearly the whole population of a city of an unknown and nearly untraceable woman (Research advice: Julia Margaret Cameron, 1988); in a parade of people carrying white placards (XIIe Biennale of São Paulo, 1973) or a virtual "territory" before the time (enormous business of the Artistic square meter, named critical " work-information", putting in game at a time written press, radio, T.V. and selling parcels of the artistic place to collectors); up to a Territory of the square meter, real this time, in Anserville, (1980), conceived like a physical place of interactive exchanges, always according to the notion of communication network seen like irreducible event. Through this sociological demand pierces a call also to the imaginary. This recourse to the ubiquity of the media spectacle, game in the game instituted by him, becomes a supplementary mystification in a vast enterprise of enlightenment. It is first a homage to the imagination that remains unverifiable flux.

Years 90, in art another degree is cleared, toward a "increased" spatiality and a "shared creation" to global scale. Either the idea of a collective and efficient generalized creation that plunges the conscience in the material and communicational spatiality in view to exalt the interaction subject/body/society. Roy Ascott, artist and theoretician of the telematics art, broadcasts pictures of the earth accessible in an interactive manner in various points of the world (Aspects of Gaia, 1989). Don Foresta and his project of Artists in network (1992) institutes interactive processes by computer between the schools of art and the independent artists from afar for research on new modes and languages of communication. In an utopian view, exchange and dialogue of the cultures are done in real time. Changing so the notion of the space-time, binding artists and men of every point of the world. In 1993, Forest in a more directly meaning inspired by the humanitarian, using the international telephonic network, making raise three watchtowers with loudspeakers close to the Slovene border, mobilizing an international press action, several radios and televisions in the event, and tries to implant "positive waves", "particles of love and of peace", very near of ex-Yugoslavia in war, with The watchtowers of the Peace.

Sometimes the artist ignites in an ironic critique, or even stern or violent against the representatives of the political power, cultural and the bureaucracy by provocation, interventions, acts opening on a sociological thought and on a form of destabilization. As Duchamp, the artist recommends to make art without making it and to occupy the territories that are not art a priori. These territories, he wants to seize the limits and the remaining possibilities of these. No without an artisanal artistic mechanics close to a strategy of communication that smells enough the disruptive side. But he wants especially to denounce the "emptiness" like he had succeeded once in getting "sixty seconds of gap " in a T.V. news broadcast. The emptiness. The exasperating emptiness. Facing this emptiness, no complaisance. Nothing that a tension. Finally, while attacking the institutions, in Functions and dysfunctions of the contemporary art: a lawsuit for the example (l’Harmattan, 2000), he also attacks as other artists, the "para-artistic", the sphere of the mediators of the world of the art (director of museum, critical d’art, gallerist, cultural adviser, etc.), that in a certain way ended up taking the place of the artistic, and reveals without imagination. Why these mediators - who are only mediators - assumed the right to think that they are those who "make art", deciding if it’s or it isn’t art? Beyond the simple provocation, Forest, extolling a way of "hygiene of the art", present, lucid, resists, refuses to let grind himself in the semblance and prepares mainly a critical debate art and its sense.


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