of sociological art (1974) and the Aaesthetics of the communication.
I OF THE SOCIOLOGICAL ART *
Fischer, Fred Forest, and Jean-Paul Thénot decided
to constitute a collective of sociological art that
can function like a structure of reception and of work for
all those having for fundamental theme of the research and
of the artistic practice the sociological fact and the link
between art and the society.
collective of sociological art notes the apparition
of a new sensitivity for the given social, bound to the process
of massification. The present settings of this sensitivity
are not anymore those of the link of the individualized man
to the world, but those of the link of the man to the society
that produces him.
collective of sociological art, by his artistic practice,
has the tendency to put the art in question, to put in evidence
the sociological facts and to "visualize" the elaboration
of a sociological theory of the art.
collective of sociological art fundamentally resorts
to the theory and to the methods of social studies. He also
wants, by his practice, to create a field of investigation
and experience for the sociological theory.
collective of sociological art takes into consideration
the traditional ideological attitudes of the publics to which
he asks. He resorts to the methods of animation, inquiry and
pedagogy. At the same time that he puts the art in relation
with its sociological context, he attracts the attention on
the channels of communication and diffusion, new theme in
the history of the art, and that implies also a new practice.
FISCHER, Fred FOREST, Jean-Paul THÉNOT, Paris, October
in the Journa1 Le Monde, October 10, 1974.
II OF THE SOCIOLOGICAL ART*
sociological art, that we were again alone to defend a few
months ago, cause various obstructions, that tempt to get
involved in the confusion. Therefore, its time to make
some recalls and to reaffirm the sense that we always gave
to the concept of sociological art.
the sociological art distinguishes itself as much
as the sociology of the art as the conceptions laxistes of
a "social art".
the one hand, as active practice in the social field, here
and now, resorting to the approaches theoretical that it submits
to the prove of the action, putting in work of the strategies
in relation to the real, but also in relation to the institutions,
to the power, inventing the techniques of its experiences
- the sociological art comes out of the setting of the scientific
and academic speech. If it resorts necessarily, as to a knowledge,
instrument of the action and if it presents in return, with
every new experience new materials of analysis, it goes past
it dialectically in the elaborated practice.
the other hand, the sociological art, by the specificity of
its relation to the sociology, have nothing to see with the
cultural carryall of the theme "art and society",
in which some stretch abusing of their authority as critical
of art, to dilute it to recover it. Others, as us, today,
understand this danger. This confusion cleverly kept constitutes
currently the more insidious threat against our process.
committed, our sociological practice distinguishes itself
of traditional militant art with which one also wants to confound
it. This last express again with the aesthetic formalisms
and the pictorial middle-class, to which we want to substitute
an active practice of critical questioning. The militant painting
was an important stage but prisoner of the clichés
and the cultural conformisms who made it inoperative, it lets
appear today its limits and its failures with too evidence,
so the sociological art binds it on others ways, implying
the new media, of the critic educational methods and the fundamental
recourse to sociological analysis.
have defined the sociological art by its epistemologic necessary
relation with the sociological science. This relation is dialectic.
It founds the artistic practice that experiments it and that
objects it in return the force of the social reality. This
relation is specific to the sociological art: it distinguishes
it of all other traditional steps or avant-gardists. It means,
against the traditional expression, the art as mystifying
ideology of the irrationality, the will to resort to the scientific
speech of sociology and to confront our practice to the rationality
of this speech.
sociological art is a practice that founds on the reversal
of the sociology of the art against the art itself, and that
takes into consideration the sociology of the society that
produces this art. It probably constitutes one of the first
tentative (excepts some experiences of socio-dramas), of implementation
of a sociological practice known beyond the traditional
concept of art. Indeed, sociology, unlike the other sciences
as economy, the mechanics, the psychology or the biology,
has caused no practice, only establishment to the level of
the social field.
project of the sociological art, its at the end to elaborate
the sociological practice itself.
unlike these sciences and their applications, the sociological
art doesn't aim to manage the real, present or to come, but
to exercise in relation to the social reality and to ourselves,
a function of questioning and disruption. This interrogative
and critical function implies not to make the questions and
the answers. Indeed it aims not at all to justify a dogma,
nor to reinforce its bureaucracy, but to cause some non-alienating
awareness. It forces to establish, where reign the one-sided
diffusion of the information, dilogics structures of communication
and exchanges, implying reciprocal engagement of the active
responsibility of each one.
sociological art tempts to put in question the ideological
superstructures, the system of values, the attitudes and mentalities
conditioned by the massification of our society.
in this goal that it resorts to the sociological theory, to
its methods and that it elaborates a educational practice
of animation, of inquiry, of disruption of the communication
concept of sociological art, as we proposed in 1972, as we
practiced it since longer again, in an almost general indifference
at that moment, imply today as yesterday the rigor of its
constituent relation with the materialistic sociological theory,
of which it is at the end the consequence and of which it
marks the passage to the act as practice operating in the
FISCHER, Fred FOREST, Jean-Paul THÉNOT, Paris, May
in the catalog of the Galliera museum, Paris for the exposition
of the collective sociological art.
III OF THE SOCIOLOGICAL ART : METHODOLOGY AND STRATEGY*
practice of the sociological art substitutes for the affirmative
and aesthetic traditional finalities of the art of the objectives
bound to the transformation of the ideological attitudes,
in the sense of an awareness of the social alienation. Its
not to propose new models of social organization, but to exercise
the dialectic power of a critical questioning. This conscientisation
must permit, in the moments of rupture of the social system
(economic and bureaucratic structure crisis) to put forward
the fundamental questioning susceptible to orient the steps
of those that want to transform the social links. Such is
our deliberated project. The philosophical question of the
sense, in a social system that doesn't tolerate its setting
in question, is inevitably subversive.
implies that the collective of sociological art considers
the methodology and the strategy as two fundamental concepts
of his practice.
The methodology of the sociological art. Its fundamental
goal is the setting up of deviance devices. Its action field
is directly the one of the interpersonal subjective relations.
It cant hardly borrow to the official sociology, in
this sense that this one aims to note and to manage, to manipulate
the attitudes of the electors/consumers in relation to the
alternative and fictitiously propositions of the social system
itself, and not to put in question these propositions. The
story of this methodology of establishment and bureaucratic
is bound to the demands of the governmental and economic organism
that financed the social investigations in the goal to assure
the exercise of their power. Only the practice of a critical
questioning can allow us to use these methods, diverting them.
methodology is entirely to invent It aims to make appear
concretely the reality of the social relations that determine
the individuals, but that the dominant ideology occults variously
to the level of the imaginary in the individual consciences,
by its political, moral and cultural speech. The sociological
art visualizes the social relations that reveal the theoretical
sociological analysis and the practice; it makes emerge his
abstract structures to the conscience of each, object of the
sociological speech, ideologically blinded to the level of
the daily lived. This subversive educational practice reveals
the working of the real social relations between the social
categories, the modes of exploitation, the political logic
of the dominating systems of values, their daily mystification,
allowing thus to each an critical exercise critical of his
judgment and his liberty in comparison with to a social
order that presents itself falsely as natural and necessary.
This self-management of the thought can be gotten thanks
to multiplied effect of different techniques: displacement
or transfer of information in comparison with their
places or the supports of cultural process belonging to levels
or social spheres usually partitioned, synthetic steps
provoking subversive short circuits, everywhere where
the dominant ideology divides and breaks up carefully to avoid
the dialectic confrontations, in short a combinative deviant
of the real cultural elements, putting in question their social
logic and therefore making appear what their consistency owes
to the dominating and repressive political power.
debates, energizations, disruptions of the affirmative
circuits of communication, provocations, refusal, critical
counter-uses fictions, anti-institutions can constitute
this transforming practice.
not only direct action, but also an experimentation of which
the partial or deferred effect is so important as the confrontation
with the hypotheses of the theoretical research theoretical
of a critical sociology.
The strategy of the sociological art. Realism and diversion
are its two principles. It practises specifically against
the institutions in place of the dominant system, that it
wants to put in question. Constituted in collective,
we don't only meet some individuals, we are also confronted
constantly to these institutions, that are on the one hand
artistic and cultural (galleries, museums, critical of art,
magazines, biennials, fairs of the art, etc.), on the other
hand politic and administrative (mass media, political parties,
unions, townships, polices, organisms of control, of censorship,
groups of pressure etc.). The recuperator processes of the
market of the art and the justification of our activities
by these different institutions make problem. With regard
to the market of the art, the collective took the decision
not to participate and to contest it radically; with regard
to the parties to be held outside and to question all of them
refusing the dogmas. Our critical interrogative function is
against all militancy.
strategy of the sociological art aims to rest on the artistic
institution permissiveness, to widen its activity to a sociological
practice wider than the category of art. The goal is to lay
hands on the power of the institutions in place either in
resting on some of the men exercising some responsibilities
there, either thanks to the logic of the acquired power, to
divert this power, so possible to overflow the
processes of neutralization of our action that makes in principle
the institutional executing of the e micro-environment of
the elite, and to return this power against the institutional
system that we want to question.
a society dominated by economic and technocratic high-class
to which the majority middle-class delegated its political
power, it is possible to rest our strategy on a part of the
intellectual class that contests the power of the administrators
and their finalities.
realism of our strategy constantly implies a calculation of
the risks in the game of the
guaranties, of the mechanisms of neutralization and recuperation,
and of the possibilities
experimentation or of effective setting in question. If the
short-term is not negligible the long-term is a perspective
of hope that necessarily legitimizes all will, as derisory
that it appears to transform the social contemporary relations.
Its maybe the will to continue in spite of all, that
will give its strength to our refusal of a society of men/objects
controlled by the cybernetic.
FISCHER, Fred FOREST, Jean-Paul THÉNOT, Paris, March
Published in the international catalog of the 37th
Biennial of Venise, June 1976
IV OF THE SOCIOLOGICAL ART: ART AND ECONOMY
art is a complex merchandise. Its market in the industrialized
countries is organized to
levels: speculation of the elite on unique pieces or to limited
print, massive diffusion of reproductions (disks, post cards,
copies...), packing or conditioning of commodities of consumption
(food, house...). This market secreted a network of modern
and varied information, and an efficient institutional system
(galleries, museums, centers of art and of culture...). World
capital of finance and economy, New York detains on this market
an imperial power and exports its local culture at the same
time as its dollars.
1. The market of the art. Banks, Stock-exchanges, bids,
assurances, industry, galleries made of the "supplement
of soul" of our civilization a commercial activity to
high output, very comparable to all other, with a supplementary
function indeed, the one to legitimize spiritually our industrial
and commercial society and the class that dominates there.
The art recovers there its traditional affirmative power.
collective sociological of art refuses a society where the
art is money and where money is divine. By his interrogative
and critical practice, at the opposite of the art merchandise
and the culture of consumption, it questions the social conscience.
The communication. Confronted to the mercantile and
official network of the art (magazines of art financed by
directors of galleries, controlled by representatives of the
State, published by captains of industry), the collective
sociological of art poses the problem of the communication.
He must invent marginally his own network of information,
against the economic and political powers.
The institutions of the market. Opposite the galleries,
museums and of the monumental symbol that reigns henceforth
on this system in Paris - the Center of Art and of Culture
Georges Pompidou - the collective of sociological art must
invent a strategy of diversion. He must create his counter-institutions,
such the Interrogative Sociological School, to oppose the
conscience to the consumption.
New York. To the United States also, the cultural regionalism
of New York holds the language and the power of the universality.
The too near Canada undergoes the yoke, cant discover
its own cultural identity even. Everything that comes from
New York is god on the market of the art. The galleries installed
their head office at Broadway. They test their products in
their European branches, before possible investment on the
North American market. Spellbound by New York, the European
artists, of United-States and from Japan make the art of imitation
to be in the spiral of the before-war. The Centre Pompidou
to reach the international statute believes necessary to announce
at its opening an exhibition New York/Paris. Unconscious of
the economic character of their power, the "stars"
of New York ignores superbly the ideas that live elsewhere
- to their eyes a way of third hulls cultural.
the crisis reached the imperial capital, and while the prudent
merchants welcome temporarily some foreign artists and galleries,
the time to pass a crisis they want brief, we throw a third
front out New York capable to organize a strategy out
of the international market and to invent variously our consciences
and our identities, without depending of the windows of bank
market of the art, its system of information and of diffusion,
its institutions the Centre Pompidou, the New Yorker imperialism
exist. They are there. As characteristic products of our bargain
society and of consumption The collective of sociological
art hasnt the power to suppress them. Therefore, his
strategy will be to divert them, so that the art is not the
sublime expression and the supplement of soul of the economic,
political and military power..., but the interrogative conscience
collective of sociological art,
FISCHER, Fred FOREST, Jean-Paul THÉNOT, Paris, February
OF AN ACTION
of the Collective of sociological art
1 (publication in the Le Monde newspaper).
to the initiative of the Collective of the thematic exhibitions
1975 1) The arts and its socioeconomic structures,
Germain, Paris (with documents of: Art et Language, Willy
Fred Forest, Hans Haacke, John Latharn, Les Lévine,
Pineau, Adrian Piper, Klaus Staeck, Bernard Teyssèdre,
1975 2) Problems and methods of the sociological year.
Matthias Fels, Paris (with documents of: Art et Language,
Charlier, Hervé Fischer, Fred Forest, Hans Haacke,
Les Lévine, Léa Lublin, Antonio Muntadas, Joan
Rabascali, Maurice Roquet, Jean Roualdes, Sanejouand, Sogno,
Jean-Paul Thénot, Tomeck, Horacio Zabala).
1975 3) art and Communication, Institut Français,
1975 4) Sociological art, Galliera museum, Paris.
1975 I.C.C. Antwerp: The collective of sociological art.
1975 Manifest II of the sociological art.
1975 Wspolczesna gallery, Warsaw.
1975 Center of art and of communication (C.A,Y.C.), Buenos
1975 Museum of contemporary art of the University of São
1975 Museum of Modern Art of Rio of Janeiro, Brazil.
1976 Manifest III of the sociological the art.
1976 Sociological animation of Associations: Kunstverein,
l976 Opening of the Interrogative Sociological School,
1976 Biennial of Venise: Bombardment of Venise. Device
of cultural implosion.
1976 Urban Intervention, Perpignan.
1977 Manifest IV of the sociological art.
1977 Intervention documenta 6.
I of the Collective, October 7, 1974 (Le Monde, 10-10-1974).
art I: Texts of Hervé Fischer, Fred Forest, Jean-Paul
(Gallery Germain, Paris).
art II: Talk of the Collective of sociological art with Otto
Matthias Fels, Paris).
art: Fischer, Forest, Thénot ("+ O" March
Collective Sociological Art (I.C.C. Antwerp, April
on the sociological art: introduction of Bernard Teyssèdre,
(Opus internatinal), special
Collective Sociological Art : Museum Ga1liera,
June 1975 (Pierre Restany, Edgar
Marshall Mac Luhan, Jules Gritti, Jean Duvignaud, Vilem Flusser,
Collective of Sociological Art, by Vilem Flusser, Galeria
Poland, June 1975).
Collective of Sociological Art, by Claude Bouyeure
"DU" N° 415, Zurich, 1975.
Collective of Sociological Art (Magazin Kunst, 1975,
Sociologica (Domus, N° 548, July 1975, Milan, by
catalog: Clarification of the Collective of sociological
Art", ARC 2, Paris, November 1975.
Biennial Venise 1976. Manifest III of the Collective of
Collective of Sociological Art. La Opinion cultural,
Buenos Aires, October 5, 1975.
Interrogative Sociological School. Documenta 6, Cayc Editions,
ART I ORGANIZED BY THE COLLECTIVE OF SOCIOLOGICAL ART, THE
ART AND ITS SOCIOECONOMIC STRUCTURES
by Bernard Teyssèdre/Exposition Gallery Germain, Paris,
art sociological is not a vanguard.
vanguard, in art, shoot the other one, hunt the other one.
A vanguard, in art, has this of strange, it doesn't include
rearward, nor troop. Why? Because to throw a vanguard, in
art, its provide for the speculators goods with increase
rating and for the usurer guarantee after amortization of
the stocks. Thus, what follows a vanguard, in art, that won't
ever be the army, devalued by its number. It will be another
vanguard, whose main merit will be to defer the previous,
because this difference is what even allows a new investment,
instead to immobilize the capital in the maintenance of an
outdated equipment, without competitive advantage in the race
to the maximal profit.
art sociological dont raise the souls toward beauty.
from where the beauty comes? This absolute is the Genius's
grant. "Voice of the silence", "Dialogue with
the Invisible", teach us the aesthetic, because its
not without interest to offend, under the aesthetic clouds,
his real genealogy to know that his mother to the name Ideology
and his father Fang-To-Phynances, both of honest bourgeois
birth. To raise the souls toward beauty, it is translated:
to attract people (body and soul) toward this grant of the
sky that is the domination of the bourgeois taste, in order
to better divert the struggle (abjectly material) that would
change their conditions of life. "Artistic education"
and the "giscardienne involvement " raising
of a same strategy. That the good people "participates".
under condition, only a power of decision! That the good people
initiates himself to the beaux-arts, yes, as the slaves domesticate
themselves, as the fawns tames themselves, to lick the
instead of eating it!
art sociological dont help to pour out the Culture.
the relation of the men to what surrounds them is canalized
by them "Mass Media". The "nature" doesn't
designate anymore an idyllic nostalgia or the prospecting
of the domestic budget for holidays by the leisures industry.
The social life, with the class conflicts, is "sublimated"
by the dominant ideology in a humanist community, an Eden
of peace. So the culture, losing all link with concrete action,
unfolds. On the one hand the creators, on the other hand the
receptors. Here the teachers, there the pupil. The information
flows in an unique way in the way of the power. The relation
of contradictory that it was, becomes hierarchical and it
is permitted to whoever to climb the degrees - it is sufficient
to him to grow rich, to cultivate himself.
art sociological is not to the taste nor masses, nor of the
better observe how the culture unfolds in double.
one of the extremes, there is the culture of mass. The masses
are not deprived of art, on the contrary, never in the history
they have been bathed to this point, flooded by the art: the
TV serial, the "music" of Sylvie Vartan, the "literature"
of the ex-minister Druon or the ex-convict Papillon. To return
the art (the "true" ) accessible to the masses,
its forget that the dominant class, if he remains dominant,
its because he knew how to instill to the dominated
masses his own tastes, his own ideas. Its because he
is expert to model them by his press, his radio, his television,
his urbanism, his advertisement. In France, to make the art
accessible to the masses, insofar as the tastes of the masses
are the most often only the belated repercussions and damaged
of the bourgeois taste, it will be produce an art that, even
politically argumentative, reinforce on the masses the
ascendancy of the bourgeois taste.
the other extreme, her "true" culture is the privilege
of the experts. A handful of artists leads, parade with his/
cortege, directors of galleries, civil servants of museums,
criticals of specialized magazines. This co-opted elite detains
the knowledge, therefore the power. This elite detains by
intimidation and intellectual terrorism, the right of "to
see" and "to declare", what in art is living,
of international range, of universal value. "Living"
art because, believe me, this newborn of the fashion that
I throw will become big. "International", because
my appetite of glory doesn't tolerate any shabby borders.
"Universal" because such is my personal taste, to
me the possessor of the universal knowledge. Of this art,
them "masses" dont have to do, it is without
link with what they can and want to make: to change their
conditions of life. Them "masses" prefer to "Support
surface" the pictures of Paris-Match, to whom the mistake?
They havent read Art Press, Opus, Artitudes, Art Vivant!
They disregarded to learn to the contact of the elite! Only,
that elite dont appreciate that we disassemble the cogs
of his power.
sociological art is not beautiful. An art that dares to say
the truth on the art, this is not beautiful.
artists of the past had a holy boss: Chéri-Bibi. They
lived "surrounded" of contradictions - "Fatalitas"!
They succeeded, or they failed, for motives that didn't depend
weakly of their work, well more of the merchants, of the criticals,
of the collectors, suddenly they saw themselves either carried
or released by the fashion "Fatalitas"! The essence
of the sociological art its that the contradictions,
from outside and passively undergone, became interior. The
sociological art puts the art in question. It makes
it while returning the art to its ideological, socioeconomic
and political context. It makes it while attracting
the attention on the channels of communication (or non communication),
on the circuit of diffusion (or eclipse), on their possible
disruption or subversion. It doesn't intend to be pleasing
to the tastes such they are of the public such he is, but
to modify the public and his tastes. This is not beautiful.
exhibition "the art and its socioeconomic structures"
opens a cycle of demonstrations of sociological art in France
and out of France, in the galleries and out of the galleries.
One won't see here of "beautiful pictures", that
would please to the "masses"; nor even "surprising
works", exciting a "elite" with the blasé
taste. One will find some documents there, and not works,
only if this treated as document. Materials of a put in question.
Instruments for an awareness. And it must be noted, nothing
V SOCIOLOGICAL ART by Fred Forest(published by
the Le Monde newspaper February 7, N° 10894, 1980)
sociological art takes for materials the sociological data
provided by its environment. It acts on these data by a multimedia
practice. It reveals the features of the society by a methodology
and a critical questioning. The own characters of the sociological
art have been defined, put on work, experienced, verified
in a first phase by the collective of sociological art.
THE SOCIOLOGICAL ART ENTERS IN THE SECOND PHASE OF ITS DEVELOPMENT
now, it affirms in priority its symbolic function within the
society in the domain of the representations of its time (convenient
of the semblance and critical distance), in relation to its
first picture, too exaggeratedly scientist, it operates a
displacement toward a bigger sensualization of the lived,
the playful exaltation, the human exchange quality. It resorts
to three concepts in function of which it reorients its step
in a meaningful way.
new mental attitude encourages interference between the partitioned
sectors. A will of indisciplinarity gave birth in the domain
of the sciences to the theory of the "systemic". In the artistic
field, this relational "data" also affirms itself. The work
like open structure introduces uncertain and involvement of
the public in interactive processes of communication. The
artist doesn't impose himself anymore as the manufacturer
of an artistic object materialized but founds his step on
a particular relation that settles between himself and his
context. Agent of communication, working on this one, the
artist becomes a beneficiary of service.
sociological art all is played in this relation to the context.
Each of the projects requires the creation of an operational
device and the development of a strategy adaptable to different
scripts. This practice leans therefore, entire, on the setting
up of "systems of actions". The achieved work is embodied
in a conceived device, programmed, animated within the daily
reality. This type of work is called to substitute itself
for the physical art object (sculpture, painting, photograph,
strip video) or to the event isolated art in the micro-environment
(performance, happening). Who says device, says organization.
Art of organization, the sociological art is more attentive
to the functions that to the objects.
successive apparition of the techniques of transformation
of the material, of the techniques of the energy and today
of the techniques of information hired the being human in
multiple shapes of expression. The most recent, the technique
of information doesn't produce a material object but messages.
Broadcast, receipt, arrangement (diversion) of messages, the
sociological art is production of messages, thought, provocation.
Imagination on the social communication of its time.
sociological art is an art of information.
the Territory of the M2
Manifest of the aesthetics of the
communication. (Mercato san Severino October 29,
The " reality " is today constituted of a varied and simultaneous
multiplicity of functions of exchanges.
The content of the exchange becomes more and more secondary
in relation to the mechanism of the exchange.
Without excluding the possibility to explore the universe
of "the implosion" and "hybridization" of the "meant" , we
sustain the preponderance of the networks and functions on
Information coincides with its "system of sense".
On this principle we found a first group of work and research
on "the aesthetics of the communication and systems, in the
perspective of an international platform continued by all
those that work meaningfully and operate in this sense".
Costa, Fred Forest, Horacio Zabala,
the weeks that follow, the artists:
Ascott (G.B.), Jean-Claude Anglade (France), Roberto Barbanti
(Italy), Stéphane Barron (France), Bure-Soh (China),
Marc Denjean (France), Éric Gidney (Australia), Jean-Pierre
Giovanelli (France), Philippe Hélary (France), Nathan
Karczmar (Israel), Derrick of Kerckhove (Canada), Tom Klikowstein
(U.S.A.), Jean-Marc Philippe (France), Wolfgang Ziemer-Chrobatzek
(Germany) join to the constituted work group.
group of work on the Aesthetics of the communication will
develop, from 1983, the theoretical aspects as the artistic
practices that the group initiates in the setting of the university
of Salerne: Chair of aesthetics and demonstrations " Art Media
" organized by Mario Costa, and to Paris I, la Sorbonne: Seminary
"art/communication/new technologies", managed by Fred Forest,
then in Nice in the MAMAC (Museum of Modern Art and Contemporary
Art) between 1995 and 1998.