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)


The great naive of Internet

Pierre Restany (Paris, May 2000 )

At the term of a course already old of more than 30 years, and that I tried to follow since the beginning of its emergence, my reflection on the work of Fred Forest operated itself at multilevel. Every report was for me the opportunity to measure the conceptual span of the notion of art through its direct projection on the vital plot of the social relations. It is always the artist in Forest that allowed me to appreciate, in relation to the collective expressive impulse, the evolution of the conceptual domain of aesthetics.

It is indeed one only and same artist, Fred Forest, that passed from the sociological art to the telematic anthropology, while passing by the aesthetics of the communication. Fred Forest appeared on the expansive panorama of this artistic questioning as the West lived the forerunner symptom of a radical change of society and of the system of production, that means in May 1968. It is at that moment that the art-communication relation changed in speed and in amplitude at a time. The communication, in fact, acquired a new conscience of its artistic territory, the rights and the duty that resulted from it: its critical virtue and its virtue of awakening with regard to the human and humanist criteria of the transmission of a presenting message in its truth and neither in its beauty. This thought on the deeply human and poetic character of the whole of the devices and of the methods of intervention on the social was, well evidently, in the air of the time in the beginning of the years 70 and it constituted the strong moment of the activities of the collective of sociological art that gathered Hervé Fisher, Fred Forest and Jean-Paul Thénot. The passage from the sociological art to the aesthetics of the communication, that materializes at Fred Forest toward the years 1983, put the level of this thought to a superior level. A level that excludes all fracture, all rupture in the evolution of the artistic questioning. It is at Forest about a logical continuation, of a fundamental adaptation to the communication, that is characterized, in the years 80, as a mean of investigating of the real more and more complex, more and more fluid and more and more rich in the multiple facets of its autonomous expressivity. When Fred Forest speaks of aesthetics of the communication, he poses the problem of a real morals of the language, of a philosophy of the action conceived in aesthetic terms. The human devices are projected in the social in the same way as poetry is projected in the language. The communication is a matter for aesthetics, not to the level of the referential contribution, but to the level of the critical conscience: its message is less and less conceived as "beautiful" but more and more as "truth". Fundamental passage that one of the beautiful to the truth. From the beautiful of the canonical aesthetics to the truth of the artistic sociology, that means the truth that borrows to the techniques of the communication all structural elements that allow him to build a system. A system conceived from devices and strategic means that are the appearances aiming to the diffusion of the truth. The aesthetics of the communication corresponds exactly to this passage of an art of the representation to an art of the presentation. The aesthetic activity of Fred Forest in the communication consists in fully assuming the operational logic of his systems that are devices of presentation of the truth. And when these systems become networks of a global span, this aesthetics of the truth topples in the postindustrial anthropology.

The thought of Fred Forest took this radical inflection to the turn of the years 90. Het has just written a book, "For a present art, the art at the hour of Internet", that is at a time an evolutionist analysis and a manifest of applied postindustrial ethnography. Speaking of the relation art and technology, this book presents a very meaningful analysis. The questions that Fred Forest puts itself are at a time those of the entomologist and the ethnographist : "the art what-is-what-that?", "what changes with the technos?" , "artists, species in way of disappearance? " . His processes of analysis and investigating of the "Territory of the art at the hour of Internet" recall in a striking way those that used the new liberal arts since their apparition during the second half of the past century. we think about Durkheim, Mauss, Levy-Bruhl, Levi-Strauss. And in this new book, when Fred analyzes in a scientific way the functions and dysfunctions of the environment of the contemporary art, he goes right to the goal and demonstrates us that at the hour of the Internet a whole flap of the present art, as humanist vector of the communication, toppled radically from the field of aesthetics to the one of the postindustrial anthropology. His long thought in this same work on "A lawsuit for the example", illustrates the logical evolution of his moral prejudice. His philosophy of the action centered on the presenting concept of truth is not conceived anymore in terms of aesthetics but well in terms of anthropology. The conceptual landslide at Fred occurred once again without fracture, in the evolutionary fluidity of the structures of the telematic communication. Sociological art, aesthetic of the communication and today postindustrial anthropology, the moral thought of Fred Forest evolves in perfects synchronism with the global extension of the telematic networks of the global culture: the anthropologist and the artist, hand in hand.

The great merit of Fred Forest resides not only in this slip of the conceptual land of his thought. He goes naturally of course to the heart of the things and fully assume the neo-primitivism of our telematic universe. I greet in him, beyond even of the lucid analyst and the inspired seer, the power of his vitalist conviction. Fred Forest is the great naive of the Internet and he trusts to be. This pride, that I greet, is to put entirely to his artist's credit.

Pierre Restany


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