FOREST, OR THE ART OF THE IMPLICATION
Lévy (Paris, January 1995)
Since at least some centuries in West the artistic phenomenon
presents itself more or less as follows: a person (the artist)
signs an object or a particular message (the work) that other
people (the recipients, the public, the criticals) discern,
taste, read, interpret, value. Whatever is the function of
the work (religious, decorative, subversive.) and its capacity
to transcend all function toward the core of the enigma and
of emotion that lives us, it register in a classic communication
diagram. The sender and the receptor are distinctly differentiated
and their roles perfectly assigned.
the emergent techno-cultural environment causes the development
of new species of art, ignoring the separation between the
sending and the receipt, the composition and the interpretation.
Some artists, as Fred Forest, exploited the opened
possible by the mutation in progress, worked to open out the
variety of its wealth. This possible is fragile: it would
be able very well to close again one day. But it could also
represent the future of the artistic creation, or rather its
beyond. This new shape of art (or of non art, but by convention
we continue to use the old vocabulary) makes experiment to
what is no more a public, other modes of communication
of distributing a message to receivers outside of the step
of creation, invited to give sense in hindsight, the artist
offers here to constitute a environment, an arrangement of
communication and production, a collective event that implies
the recipients, that transforms the hermeneutics in actors,
that puts the interpretation in loop with the collective action.
Probably the " open works" prefigure already such
an orientation. But they remain even taken in the hermeneutic
paradigm. The receptors of the open work are invited to fill
the gaps, to choose between the possible senses, to confront
the divergence between their interpretations. But itís always
to magnify and to explore the virtualities of an incomplete
monument, to initial a guestbook under the signature of the
artist... However the art of the implication doesn't constitute
the work anymore to the classic sense, even open or indefinite:
it makes emerge some processes, it wants to open a career
at autonomous lives, it introduces to the growth and the habitation
of a hulls. It inserts us in a creative cycle, in a living
environment of which we are always already the coauthors.
Work in progress? It displaces the accent of the
work toward the progress. We will return its demonstrations
to moments, to places, to collective dynamics, but no more
to people. Itís an art without signature.
Since the end of the years 60, Fred Forest manufactures "machines
to imply". These machines invite people to participate
in an adventure, to make themselves creators with others.
Of the pieces of their own pictures, traces of their gestures
are integrated to the informational fluxes that treat the
disposition of the communication. There is no more "spectators"
separated, moved away. To the contact of the device, people
are longed to the interior of a common event, taken in a process
that eats their reactions. Itís thanks to this use of living
energy of the participants that sometimes an autonomous human
being escaping completely the exhibitor of device finishes
by emerging. To communicate, itís to create the community.
The result (ideal) of the actor (waited) of the events caused
by the art of the implication are intellectuals or "imagining
The devices of communication of Fred Forest are not made to
diffusion but essentially to listen... Art of
the gap: sudden the television and the radio listen, the placards
don't include any enrollment, the strip video is virgin, the
newspaper asks you for writing, the screen pierces itself...
The event arrives by the silence provoking the diffusion,
by the rip of the exhibition.
Certainly, one will find sending in the installations of Fred
Forest but it will be most of the time only to fill the one
of the three following functions: to turn in derision the
deaf emitters, to provoke the answer or to restore what has
been listened. At the time of the restitution we understand
why the message was absent, escaped: the work lodged in the
collective answer and not at all where our reflexes were waiting
for. Such could be the formula of " the art of the implication":
to cause the work instead of to impose it.
The work "holds" all alone, it possesses a certain
density of existence. The work is where the real emerges.
It tends to autonomy. This approach doesn't limit the work
anymore to messages words or steady shapes. Become also works :
the events, process, situations, emotional climates, dynamic
of group, ephemeral space-temporal configurations, etc. If
the devices of Fred Forest work the expanse, the degree and
the quality of the implication of people, itís at the end
to make emerge a risky, non controlled, open situation, where
a dimension of autonomy will be able to spread out.
To listen and to restore probably constitute by excellence
the double psychotherapeutic gesture. Only if we admit its
power to take care, we can put in doubt its aesthetic virtues.
But take guard not to apply the criteria of judgment for the
classic work judgment for the art of the implication. The
goal isnít to evaluate or to taste a separated message, but
to live a situation, to participate in an event. Or rather,
one cannot taste this work only by participation and therefore
by being partially the author. Or we are is implied (and then
partially responsible), or we don't have access to what it
proposes as essential: we will have only a knowledge by hearsay.
Strictly speaking, the work is not very in the device of communication.
It is necessary to think this device as breach in the inertia
of the daily, emptiness in which a collective dynamics will
be able to emerge. In my sense, Fred Forest arrives to the
summit of his art when he succeeds to cause real collective
intelligence. Surmounting the organized separation by the
media and the institutions, peoples implied in his communicating
installations are going to confer, to coordinate themselves,
to invent and to play together, to manufacture suddenly community,
as in "watchtowers of the peace", to make hear a
Forest doesn't show us the earth of the men view from high,
photographed by a satellite. He calls us to measure actively
the diameter of it, to give us the hand by telephone, to dance
around the world an electronic round. When we participated
in some of his telephonic installation, itís a little bit
as if we had held, all together, the earth between our arms
measuring its rotundity of our collective flesh.
hopes that the way of research inaugurated by Fred Forest
and some others will lead one day to extraordinary shapes
of art that will make us progress again in the constitution
of intellectuals or "imagining collectives". In
particular the resources of the cyberespace will permit us
maybe to cause some communities capable to forge some languages.
In this respect, the classic work is like a bet. More it transmutes
the language that carries it, musical, plastic, verbal or
other, more its author takes risks: incomprehension, absence
of reprise. But more the stake is important - the degree of
recast or fusion to which one sends the language - more the
gain is attractive: makes event in the history of the culture.
However this game of language, this bet on the understanding
and the recognition is not reserved to the artists. Each to
his scale, as soon as we express ourselves, we produce, we
reproduce and we let vary the language. From singular express
in creative hearing, the languages emerge and drift thus in
the long course of the communication, carried by thousands
of voice that question and answer themselves, risk, provoke
themselves and disappoint themselves, throwing the words,
the turns, new accents above the deep abyss of the non-sense.
An artist can therefore, when he seizes it, make evolve one
fashion of expression received from previous generation. Besides
such is one of the main social functions of the art: to participate
to the continuous invention of the languages and signs of
a community. But the creator of a language is always a collective.
Radicalizing the classic function of the work, the art of
the implication will be able to put in tension human groups
and will be able to propose them the machines of signs that
are going to allow them to invent their languages. But, one
will say, these languages we produce them since always. Probably,
but to our unawareness. Not to tremble before our own audacity,
to conceal the emptiness under our steps, or maybe only because
this adventure was so slow that it became invisible, or because
it enveloped too much crowd in walk, we preferred the illusion
of the foundation. But we paid for this illusion by the feeling
of the defeat. In defect facing God's language, worn out by
the transcendence of the Logos, bloodless to the look of the
spurs inspired of the artist, imperfect according to the correction
of the schools, bearing the weight of the dead languages,
we fall down before the exteriority of the language. We have
already suggested, the art of the implication wants to be
therapeutic. It invites to experiment a collective invention
of the language that would know itself like such. Making that,
it points toward very essence of the artistic creation.
out of the bath of their life and of their interests, far
from their zones of expertise, separated the ones of the others,
the individuals "have nothing to say". The whole
difficulty consists in seizing them - to the emotional sense
as to the topological sense - in group, to hire them in an
adventure where they will take pleasure to imagine, to explore,
to construct together sensitive environments. Even if the
technologies of the direct and the real time play their part
in this enterprise, the own time of the collective imagining
overflows with all sides the chopped temporality, accelerated,
almost prompt of " the interactivity". The insufficiency
of immediate, of the zapping without memory, doesn't send
back us either to the long chains of the interpretation, to
the infinite patience of the tradition that envelops in the
same length the ages of the living peoples with those of the
deaths, and that makes work quick water of the present to
the edification of a wall against the time: as the madrepore
raises of the coral reefs, the commentaries, stratum after
stratum, always turn into object of commentaries.
The art of the implication doesn't hold for acquirement nor
the time nor the space. And for reason: it produces them.
One will see in the step that Fred Forest develops how all
artifices of the communication are convened to cross the heterogeneous
temporalities, to evoke impossible uchronies, to cause the
ambiguous simultaneity, to warp between the lengths of inextricable
circularities. In such installation, what we believed in the
past... proves to be present. There, the present was already
of the past. Here the future seems to act on the present.
Elsewhere, the times interpenetrate and color themselves mutually.
One will browse this on line retrospective of Fred Forest
like a space-temporal book of alchemy.
said, the art of the implication doesn't aim the work to the
classic sense but the event. It valorizes the present, the
ephemeral, the enjoyment, the life. But paradoxically this
orientation comes with a kind of obsession of the trace. The
trace is like the shade of the event. And Fred Forest seems
to strive to put in evidence this dark part of the action:
the fascination of the recording when one gave up the memory.
By passage to the limit, the event can cut down exactly to
lived of an event like trace, or for the trace. As soon he
knows itself as ash, the fire doesn't burn with the same flame
anymore. Its future of the past comes to gnaw the present.
the recording finishes to condition throughout. The possession
of the object (of art?) substitutes itself to the ephemeral
enjoyment... And finally, beyond all its traffics of temporality,
Forest seems to aim a very archaic time, a time before the
history, a return at this time where ritual (magic, religious,
artistic? ) made the seasons, the years and the cycles. As
if we were again in this fabulous instant, before the origins,
where the history has not again begun to flow.
collective event always raises for a part from a subjective,
emerge "out of the time" that it is impossible to
return to the watch or the calendar. The ultimate aim of the
art of the implication is maybe to cultivate this time of
the collective subjectivity. For an art of the future, the
rhythm of "the imagining collective" caused by the
event would resemble to the one of a very slow dances. It
would raise from a slow-motion choreographs, where the gestures
adjust little by little, answer themselves with infinitely
of precaution, where the dancers discover progressively the
secret tempi that are going to put them in phase, to
baffle them.. Each would learn some from others the entry
in a calm, belated and complicate synchrony. The time of the
collective intelligent would spread out, would get confused
and would recover quietly, as the drawing restarted of the
delta of a big river. The imagining collective would be born
to take the time to invent the ceremony that inaugurate it.
And it would be the celebration of the origin and the origin
itself, again undecided.
To the look of the watch or of the calendar, the temporality
of "imagining collective" could seem deferred, interrupted,
exploded. But all would be played in the dark folds, invisible
of the collective,: the melodic line, the emotional tonality,
the secret beating, the correspondences, the continuity that
it would link to the very heart of the individuals that composes
it. The art of the implication discovers the up-stream of
the music. How to make elevate a symphony from the rumor of
the multiple? How to pass - without previous partition - from
a murmur of crowd to a chorus? The intellectual collective
puts back continuously in game the social contract, it maintains
the group to the newborn condition. Paradoxically it spends
of the time, the time to imply people, to weave the links,
to make appear the objects, the common landscapes... and to
come back to it. A length and means of which the artist of
the implication don't have today. Having filled marvelously
his function of scout, of awaker, having designated the possible,
he passes the relay. Who will seize it? He asks to widen the
circle of the dancers. Who will accept to release takes?