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)



This experience had for setting the city of Cologne in June 1976. The idea can appear some absurd to the first look. It was born from an empty apartment. This apartment pending of renting, momentarily available, has been placed at my disposal by a German friend who was the owner of it. Big apartment of bourgeois type, to the third floor of an old building of character, giving directly on one the most sought-after parks of the city. Residential place particularly appreciated by the comfortable layers of the population, but also place of implantation of numerous commercial societies like head office, displaying the mark of a certain status. The apartment, although in disrepair, with its wallpaper with flowers, pulled off by whole flaps, and its holes in the walls plugged to the hurry, rather inspires to the visitorís look a feeling of comfort and luxury. Feeling bound directly to its surface (160 square meters about). Indeed, in a type of urban concentration as offers to us our society, where it constantly has the tendency to shrink, the space constitutes in itself the individual's real luxury. By its measurements, and because it is absolutely empty, with the exception of some rubbles on ground, the apartment provokes a way of shock on the visitor. This shock, I didn't miss, myself, to feel it whereas I crossed it in a merely circumstantial way at the time of my first visit.


It is of this shock that sprang in my mind the curious idea of the video family. Each knows, by experience, that all empty piece offers a special echo, a particular resonance that gives to the voices a strange vibration - that gives to the noises of all nature an extension that stretches them in the time - sometimes creating a shift disturbing where the past seems to make irruption in the present by the persistence of some indications or their recurrence. Resonant sensations accompanied by a spatial impression very close to those that affect our ear in the evenings of summer, when arrive to us, by the open windows, the levels superimposed of the sound multiplied of a same program distributed by the multitude of the televisions of a whole district. Only for a moment in this desolate apartment, plunged in a second condition, then I started hearing like a species of echo of the voices of the past, the talks, the dialogues of those that had been the last occupants of it. I imagined their daily life in this circumscribed universe. I started reconstituting, scrap by scrap, the fine thread of these existence at the same time so exceptional and so banal... Ebb against the current of some brief retorts emerging sudden among the blades of the floor, or seeming to fall right of the ceiling. Truncated talks thrown from a piece to the other. Whispers, laughters, whispers, wild race of children. Sharp voice of a woman eructating a reprimand. Door that slaps. Long silence. Silence cut with an obsessional thoroughness by the regular ticking of a clock. Borborygmeses and hiccups of the tubings. Restitution of the daily triviality of which the accumulation of details ends up inspiring an irresistible fascination way: restitution of a family's life. The shock had made be born this family. It was sufficient to give a name to this family: the Video Family will be the name.


It is from this fictional family, born of my imagination following my fortuitous meeting with this apartment, that developed itself the action that I am going to describe below. This action, to which I assign an artistic and sociological character, took place in several stages:

a) Publication in the daily press of Cologne of a set of announcements (these announcements appear in the market of the real estate). They propose, under an unusual shape, the renting of an apartment. This apartment is occupied currently by the Video family that can be visited!

b) Previous realization of six video tapes destined to be distributed in the places, on the day foreseen for the action. Five among them represent each of the family's personages. The sixth gathers them during one domestic meal in the kitchen.

c) In each of the empty pieces of the apartment is installed an autonomous video equipment, either a total of six video recorders accompanied by the corresponding monitors. A supplementary monitor equips the lounge to distribute there in direct between 6 P.M. and 8 P.M. the program of the first TV channel.

d) Systematic answer to the correspondences following the announcement published in the newspapers as a circular letter fixing to the whole of the "candidates" to the renting a visit June 25 between 6 P.M. and 8 P.M. exactly.

e) Postal expedition of one thousand invitations to the intention of the cultural public to invite it to visit to the Video Family. This visit is proposed to the title of a "artistic action": the recipients are some of the critiques of art, the directors of galleries, of the museums, the artists, etc. This public is invited in the same slot that those that will come to rent in fact the apartment: that means June 25 between 6 P.M. and 8 P.M.

f) On the day and at the hours fixed for the visit, I assure myself this one, welcoming the visitors to the entry: provided with a portable video equipment on which I record each of the guided visits.

Publication of the announcement in the press:

The announcement has been written and has been conceived in order to constitute in itself a provocation for the reader. It will be published by the two main dailies newspapers of Cologne. It gives a descriptive of the rooms, affirm that the amount of the renting rises at most to the price "of an egg and an apple", finally mentions that it is occupied currently by the Video family! The Video family, tenant of the apartment, is held at the disposal of the visitors, and will provide to the concerned persons, as instructions for use, the recipe of the "perfect" domestic happiness.

The announcement in a first time, is deposited by our cares by telephone. A quarter of hour later, we are recalled by the direction of the newspaper. An interlocutor who presents himself as chief of advertisement of the press group to which belongs this support, informs us that the announcement won't be able to be published under this editorial shape. He regrets it personally, well strongly, and engages us to rephrase the presentation of it. Pushed by the curiosity, he tries to know more. Of a measured and very gracious tone, he carries to our knowledge a few elementary ethical rules that govern the profession. He tempts visibly, to pierce what hides behind this suspect Video family? But we hold good: we will have difficulty to reassure him, then to convince him. To arrive at our ends, we are obliged to open out the subtlest diplomacy. We let admit him, finally, that it is not about there, after all, that of an advertising process "to hang" the customer a little more "artfully". A professional of the advertisement cannot be insensible to this type of research! Certainly the text differs somewhat of the conventions of this kind, but it remains nevertheless in the setting of a strict legality: This apartment exists well. It is well to rent! These are there objective facts that can be comfortably verify. Besides, we are at oneís disposal to make control it, de visu, if necessary. After ultimate hesitations our man capitulates under the pressure of our arguments. Oof! he will give the green light. The announcement will be published under the foreseen initial shape. It is the way that the readers of Cologne will learn by reading of the daily press, in the columns reserved to the market of the real estate, the existence of this curious Video family.


The whole of the received correspondence following the announcement ask multiple questions on the state of the places, the price and the conditions of renting, the amount of the loads, the possibility to visit the Video family Video - essentially, questions about convenient order, but as some allusions, vaguely formulated and prudent, on this family with a strange name... Each of the received correspondences makes the object, in return, of a more detailed circular that proposes a collective visit for all concerned persons June 25 between 6 P.M. and 8 P.M. Without to be able to give any conclusion of it, it is necessary to notice that a lot of demands emanate of social-professional categories belonging to the education professions and various professions of "intellectual" formations. Is this the effect of a pure luck, or the wording of the announcement played in this sense? The style of the district is not probably foreign to this type of potential clientele and it is necessary to see there, more certainly, the real reasons of this determination. Among the answers to the announcement: a substantial number of "distinguished" representatives of the university, some executives of the administration, three or four architects, some students, couples of newly-weds, an attaché of embassy of Mali, a theater writer, and of course, many curious. To this inventory is necessary to add a humorist that, having perfectly discerned the satirical side of the announcement, is presented himself to the appointment with a "egg and an apple" in the hands... Note finally, in relation to the gotten usual results, on the same supports of publication, the quantitative output quite exceptional of our announcement.

The realization of the video tapes: the portraits of the Video Family

The Video Family is composed of five members - it is a German family of widespread type: the father, the mother and the three children. She is called Video but she would be able to just as well to be called the family Keller, Lindenberg, or Neumann because we are in Germany. For the purpose of the critical demonstration of our action, it was indispensable to present her under a schematic, grotesque, and stereotyped aspect. Each of the members would be represented, illustrated, personified, materialized as a support video that would give him existence for thirty minutes. Each of the members, during the visit, would occupy a determined site, designated on the domestic territory. The apartment would be demarcated by these different presence, relieved by electronics, defining the different functions of the common space thus in relation with the different hourly moments of the day and the night.

Frank and Ulla, the father and the mother, in their own room, in the evening at 11 P.M. (Face-to-face dialogue of two receptors of television sending back itself the dialogues).

Andréa, the family's girl, at 8 A.M., in the bathroom before her departure for the high school.

Fabian, the boy, with a girlfriend of games, the neighbor of the underside, in his room, at 5 P.M.

Christine, three months, the family's baby screaming deeply, at all hours of the day and the night.

A supplementary tape stages the domestic meal of in the evening in presence of all the members of the family, that takes place ritually in the kitchen, on sonorous background of plates, spoons and forks.

Finally, an isolated monitor of television, in permanent working, will occupy the lounge identified to a sixth "character" of the family. The device distributes without interruption from 6 P.M. to 8 P.M. the program of the first German channel. The Video family meets together there like every evening tat 7.30 P.M. around this pole. In the device video put in place, it will be the only device not distributing a pre-recorded tape but the real national broadcast program in direct, in the time where they take place.

To this point of our description of the device, it proves useful to specify that, in the apartment: the totality of the video recorders functions simultaneously. The content of every tape takes its real dimension only in the relation that it maintains with the one of the other tapes. The device must be feared like a spatial-temporal totality inside which the combinative of the information organizes itself and disorganize itself according to the visitor's displacement in the apartment. It is not the "portrait" of each of the members of this fictional family that must keep our attention but the relational system that links the one to the other in the domestic space.


name: Frank Video.

age: 39 years

Profession: used in a cabinet of insurance.

Frank Video is fascinated of soccer as viewer. He drinks Wickuler beer. He reads the Stadt-Anzeiger newspaper. He votes regularly S.P.D. He smokes the cigar in the great opportunities. He possesses a yellow Opel Rekord car since three years. He hates the Pink-Floyd but loves the jazz New Orleans. He reads five detective novels per year. He estimates that the young of today have too much liberty.


name: Ulla Video born Keller

age: 37 years

Profession: mother of family.

Protestant. Specialist of the leg with pickles. Go two times per month to the hairdresser. She votes S.P.D. like his husband. She occupies her leisures to the sewing. She participates regularly in the meetings of the parents of pupils in her son's school and in her daughter's high school. She is in bad relation with her neighbor of landing. She esteems that her budget to manage the household is insufficient. Only one literary passion: Pearl Buck. Fierce viewer of "Kuli" (Quizmaster).


name: Andréa Video

age: 17 years

Profession: pupil.

Andréa Video is in terminal class of secondary. She wears jeans but she prepares herself a part of her clothes. She goes once per week in the swimming pool. She spends her vacations with the family on the Costa Brava. She receives 30 marks of spending money per month. She hates to make the dish. She doesn't have any idea well stopped on the sexuality. The family's members blame her for occupying the bathroom for a too long time. Her flirtation is called Dieter, he is ten nine years old and prepare his final exam. She adores the Pink-Floyd.


name: Fabian Video

age: 5 years

Profession: schoolchild.

Fabian decided once for all of ever to go to the school. He wakes up the night because he sees some monsters. He possesses a bicycle, a car with pedals, of the roller-skates, a mechanical train and a train made of wood. His favorite pastime: to make some grimaces to the neighbor behind his mother's back.


name: Christine Video

age: 3 months

Profession: whining baby.

Owes his existence following a premature stop of the pill.

The notice-board to the entry presents also a plan quoted of the apartment, drawn by an architect, the complete text of the announcements published in the press, and the totality of the 182 answers that these announcements had caused.


June 25, one minute before 6 P.M., the complete device was in place. It no without pain because it had been necessary to battle until the last moment to get the totality of the necessary video equipment. Detail that has its importance: such actions don't appear not at all in a commercial circuit susceptible to assure the financing of it. They don't present any possibility of financial return. They cannot exist therefore that following personal initiatives of which the incentive (monstrously " incomprehensible " mystery for many) founds on the indemnified taste of the game and the propensity toward a certain type of "research". The obtaining of the means of realization in this kind of project, participates in the creativeness for the same reason as the contents and the formal results proposed at the end of race to the public. For the contemporary artists of which the shapes of creation move away of the traditional techniques to resort to the new media in the tentative to bind another type of relation with the world that surrounds them, the resistance is less often the one of the inert material that the one of the economical and social structures to which they are confronted. This state of fact requires other practices, today, that some artists try to elaborate in the setting of an activity that they defined under the "Sociological Art" name. To arrange for a given duration of seven monitors () in Cologne, as in Paris, without paying the amount of renting to the company that provides them, constitutes for the artist a way of "work of art" that not only requires a lot of perseverance and of energy expense, but again quite a lot of invention and of creativeness! It explains our permanent difficulty, in such conditions of realization, to carry through our actions. Miraculously all was ready.

The first stroke of small bell pulls me from my waiting. I hurry on the intercom and push on the button that commands the opening of the entry door. I indicate briefly that it is necessary to go up to the third floor: it is there that the Video family lives in. I seize my equipment that I wedge it on my shoulder. I stay myself on the landing in top of the staircase. My German friend joins me and stands slightly back to act as interpreter in case of need. They are two to climb with circumspection the last walks. She is curiously brunette with hairs in cork-screw. He is blond, pass her of two heads at least, and raise a electric blue tie that settles on his dark costume. It is without a doubt a couple of academics, tell I to me while adjusting them in the eye of my Sony camera.

It is him that speaks the first: " they come for the apartment ". I push on the trigger of my portapak. I ask them to penetrate. I fade away on their passage. I encourage them to advance with a gesture of the hand remained free. They comply after having thrown me a constrained look. Now all televisions function in the apartment and weave a sonorous background that accredits the idea that a whole family occupies the places. To the passage, they throw an eye on the panel of information but without stopping.


I now precede them in the passageway, advancing backwards to hold them in the field of my video. We are to the entry of the first piece: the kitchen. She directly opens up on our right. I attract their attention on an small poster affixed against the outside of the door:

Kitchen: itís 7 P.M., the Video family Video is gathered around the domestic meal.

They exchange a sneaky look and advance both in the center of the room. Put on the floor, the television recreates the ambiance of the domestic meal. The hands crossed behind the back, he sketches an amused smile. The face frozen, right on her heels, she remains there, immobile, before the fuzzy pictures that parade on the screen, punctuated by tollings of dish. He tells me something in German that I don't understand. I smile him on my turn whereas my friend, who followed us, answers him with a certain readiness that continues by a burst to laugh. The ice is broken: I invite them to pursue the visit. We are in the passageway again. Still on the right, the second room. We stop before the door. The pinned display mentions this time:

Room of the parents: it is 11 P.M. Frank and Ulla in conversation get ready to go to bed.

On the ground, two televisions cope themselves: Ulla, on the CVM-90, and Frank, on a thicker model, exchanges on all sides, few friendly subjects. She blames him violently for having his nose always dived in the newspaper whereas she endeavors in vain to speak with him of the future of the children. He placidly lights a cigarette. He pulls of it the first puff. He starts coughing during two minutes thirty-five seconds without being able to take his breath. She takes advantage of a brief lull to throw him to the head, aggravated,: "that he smokes much too much!" She lights on her turn a cigarette. Now, maybe, he takes her by the arm. It is only a hypothesis because the picture in truth is too dark. He speaks to her with a very bass voice. The tone wants to be conciliatory. He knows well his wife. Only some shades run on the surface of the screen, sometimes crossed by a clearer burst,: the border of the sheet. They fall okay: they will place their savings while buying local actions.

We pass in the following room:

Room of Fabian. 5 P.M. He plays with his small neighboring girl.

We are welcomed by strident screams of Indian that alternate with various noises, difficult to determine. There again, a television on the ground, in the middle of the empty space. The screams of Indian become more and more strident and now cover the baby's tears that emanate the neighboring room.

The one of Christine, mention the small poster, any hour of the day and the night.

The video cries tirelessly while hazy shapes of layettes agitate the stuck out surface of the receptor. Our two visitors look at themselves of a fond and accomplice eye as in a way of anticipating communication. She smiled for the first time with a movement of the head that put in movement the whole building of her black ringlets in a comic quivering. I drag them in the bathroom.

Bathroom. 8 A.M. Andréa takes her shower before the departure for the high school.

Water flows in cascade. Andréa sings the lips closed on a rhythm that adapts itself to the coming and going of the soap on her body. The bluish light of the television reflects in the mirror above the sink. The screen lets glimpse at times, of a fleeting way in a fog of electrons, the supposed shape of an hand, the line of a shoulder or a hip. Real test imposed to our "voyeurism" by an electronic picture of bad definition that plunges the spectator (viewer) in a permanent frustration feeling, driving him to undergo the torment until its term; that means until the ultimate phase of the tape, in the hope always disappointed of a clarification of the picture.

To win the even unexplored part of the apartment we are forced to borrow the long passageway by which we came, in opposite direction. By passing, I designate the toilets: a small narrow room with a high window. Small room in which we had renounced to install a too advanced technology whose sophisticated presence would have can be interpreted, in these places, like an offense to the good taste. Having understood my indication with one second of delay, releasing his companion's arm, he comes back nimbly on his steps, throwing an inquisitive look by the half-opened door. Apparently satisfied, he joins us in two long strides. Now I push them both toward the lounge.

The unique presence of the television seems even more incongruous in this vast room.

The lounge. 7.30 P.M.

The all family watch the first TV channel.

Here the pictures are clear, clear and legible. It is about an American cartoon: an enormous dog, silly and malicious, weakens in all senses on the screen, persecuted by a cat falsely innocent that he tried vainly to neutralize. Considering the fascination of my visitors before the spectacle, I think that they completely forgot the object of their visit and that they are going to settle down now there, "to consume" the program until the word: End. It is her that will take, the first, conscience of this situation, supporting discreetly twice on the arm of her friend: the blond giant. I ask if the apartment agrees them: "Yes, yes, it is well." To the long embarrassed silence of the visit makes sudden continuation a stream of words. Kind of social and verbal ritual to implore the anguish of the silence. By continuous salvos, they put together a set of questions, without waiting for the end of the answers. I am literally flooded. My friend flies to my help and satisfies to their curiosity point by point. In the meantime she tempted to make be patient in the entry those that hurry for the visit and the number that becomes constantly increasing. The tooting of the door of the building sounds without stop. Readjusting the video on my shoulder I go to their meeting.


"To whom the turn?"

The visit restarts with the following couple. Soon it will be impossible to contain the stream of the visitors on the landing. They invade the apartment. Take possession of the ground. Organize the systematic combing of the video territory. Some whole hordes stroll from one room to the other. One exchanges his impressions. One challenges himself joyously, one guffaws noisily. One sits down, here or there, on their heels, before the televisions by groups of two or three. One engages the conversations with his neighbors. The dialogues become sometimes vehement, interrupted of enormous bursts of laughters as only some Germans know how to express them. In less than two hours, two hundred thirty people parade: at 27 Vorgebirgstrasses. Two hundred thirty people who will survey in all senses the video apartment, discovering, a little disappointed, that finally this family doesn't have anything exceptional, so much it looks like their family...

Public: mixed, heterogeneous, of which it is difficult to establish a precise deduction permitting to make distinction between those that came to rent an apartment, those that moved solely to attend artist's "performance", and the curious.


What are the intentions, the goals, the teachings of it?

In what such an action, as we have tempt to describe it in the previous lines, can it be in line with the setting of an artistic step? Where is the art in there? How does it can, of a justifiable way, to be engaged, achieved and offered under the label and the guaranty of the label art? What means, today, the word art? The crisis of the society, its mutations, the apparition of the new techniques, the putting in question of the visual fact, the fading of the aesthetic dogma contribute to definitely disqualify the traditional kinds of expression at the same time that starts a movement of rocker toward the horizon of liberal arts. The painting of rack doesn't stop agonizing. The plastic arts are contested by their inability to answer the new requirements of our time. We assist to a deep change of the constituent nature of the art. Today, the problem for the artist doesn't put itself anymore in terms of formal representation (What to represent? How to represent it?), but how to encourage the reflection, to activate the communication, to provoke an awareness? The artistic act is conceived like a provocation destined to create a questioning. This questioning must limit itself to put the reason back of the art but must aim to a critical analyze of the society by a social and sociological interventionist practice.


In relation to the traditional concept of art, he introduces a decisive rupture insofar as it presents, in a way, the "social fact" like "work of art". Its activity, don't aim anymore to the repetitive production of objects offered the passive consumption but to the creation of social events. The sociological art leans and eats itself of a social reality in which it intervenes like agent of rupture. The communication with the public doesn't exercise anymore in an one-sided sense in terms "to know" and "to can" but in a conversed attitude, where the segregation vanishes between "those who know " and "the others". Finally the sociological art aims to create fields of conscience, to demystify the ideologies, to get changes of behaviors, that by a social critical practice demanding new modes of action. New conception of the art directly bound to the life, to the environment, to the daily. In brief: the practice of the sociological art substitutes to the affirmative and traditional aesthetic finalities of the objectives bound to the transformation of the ideological attitudes, in the perspective of an awareness of the social alienation. Its methodological action applies on a followed way to the setting up of deviance devices. Its field of action, as well its material, are the society herself.

The reorganization in a deviant combinatory of cultural, real elements, drags the putting in question of their social logic. The sociological art in this goal, practises the diversion or the parasite of the communication circuits, introducing there foreign elements that, disrupting their normal working, provokes the questioning that it searches for. It applies to put in place utopian institutions of which the juxtaposition to real institutions provokes by this setting in parallel the parody of the seconds and their putting in reason.

We note that the sociological art can appear under very various shapes without privileging a particular technique or an unique support.

This demonstration aimed several objectives:

1ƒ The putting in reason of the notion of work to the traditional sense and the one of the cultural circuits.

The very realization of this action already contributed to affirm, by its concrete existence, the independence and the artist's autonomy, opposite to the cultural system in place - system to which it is always obliged to submit itself if it wants to communicate its work, system by which it is necessarily forced to pass when it wants to go to meet the public. With the setting up of such a device as the Video family, the data of the problem are radically modified. The artist creates his own support of creation and his own circuit of diffusion. He manages so the proof that the artistic act can do very well or even today without the museum, or the gallery, or the critical thus.() It is the example with this experience: the art now can, stupidly, pass in transit by the classified ad and make itself transport by the market of the real estate. The use of such channels and their access, from the moment where it would become widespread, puts back in very sensible question the cultural distribution circuit under its present shape and its monopoly. It is necessary that the artist finally becomes aware of the unlimited investigating field that the modern world offers to his experimentation, to his creativeness, to his imagination. It is necessary that he takes conscience of the extraordinary diversity and wealth of the instruments, the tools, the media, the techniques that this world places at his disposal. It is necessary that he watches around him. It is necessary that he shakes the alienation in which a prudent stopping behind anachronistic techniques and a conception delayed of the art maintain him. It is finally necessary that he escapes the ascendancy, to the codes of the official circuits of the art that are already definitely condemned. Between the submissiveness to the past and the opening on the unknown, he must choose without hesitating the unknown. It is to this title, and to this title only, that he will deserve the name of creator. The Video family enrolls as a tentative of new artistic action, committed in this sense. No without a mischievous provocation, it announced the color of it in the invitation addressed to the museums, to the galleries, to the institutions cultural of all ways, specifying: today the art makes without you!

One of the goals of this experience was therefore the convenient demonstration having the tendency to prove, by a concrete example, that the artistic action, the art, can escape the hardening tutelage of the circuits and the official places of the culture. That the art can escape the art. That the art can materialize itself in a tangible and real way in social relations. An "living art" in direct hold with life. An art put in work with the help of different modes permitting to bite on a different public, passing by different channels. An art, finally, that proposes the dialogue.

2ƒ Market of the real estate and setting in presence of different publics.

Through the pretext of the art, our second objective consisted in creating an event support of a reflection. Reflection on the market of the real estate with the involvement of even those that are confronted to it: critical reflection, that took in charges the sociological data of this market, in this month of June 1976, in a German city of first importance. In the game instituted by the Video family, there is the deliberated will to maintain always a certain ambiguousness . In this composite "action", the idea of art is destined to disrupt the one of real estate, and the idea of real estate the one of the art. Our intention aimed to transform a desolate apartment in a place of debate and exchanges. For this, to encourage the meeting of a certain number of people concerned by the problem, first, because they shared all in common the preoccupation to accommodate themselves! Therefore to transform, it was so ever possible, the place of this apartment to rent, in forum, on the relative problems of the habitat! It is known well that the candidates to the renting of an apartment are always negotiated separately by the agencies. In any case they cannot ever practice an exchange of information. The goal of the agencies is clear: it is about partitioning rigorously information so that the "business" don't escape them. It is about, also, not to encourage the constitution of a common forehead of the "consumers": still "dangerous"!

Upsetting the rules of the usual social and professional game, it was interesting to put these "consumers" together, and to study the developments that would occur. Thereon, it was just as interesting to make unload some "consumers" of art and to observe what would happen then. Very quickly the visitors in quest of an apartment to rent identified themselves two by two, then in group: they started discussing. Of course, the presentation of the apartment came out of the ordinary with these devices of television, but actually the Video family, in herself, interested them rather few. Preoccupied by their specific problem of lodging, it is around it that organized themselves the information, that exchanged the ideas. Animate conversations where each, to his manner, restarted the lawsuit of all owners and realtors... Finally, each delighted to have an audience before which to express his problems to relieve themselves of it. Each, in a spontaneous impetus, delivering to the aid the fruit of his own experience, his disappointments, his hopes. Immediately expressing his opinion, communicating some useful addresses, to the back of an envelope or the reverse of a newspaper. One got in guard, mutually, against certain practices of which one had been the "victim" from doubtful offices. Coincidence: suddenly we met with an explosion of joy, to have visited the same apartment on two days of interval! Confrontation of the points of view. Assessment of the advantages and inconveniences. But always the same conclusion: many too dear! Little by little the conversation became more general. The circle enlarged to new newcomers. Ulla Video shouting too strong on her monitor in the neighboring room, one asked to me if it was possible to reduce the power of the receptor. One didn't hear other speaking ! The visitors who disembarked came gather immediately to the discussion. Some artists (easily identifiable by their sartorial holding) had succeeded to infiltrate until the first rank. Some "notables" of the art that I recognized revolved to the periphery, a amused smile to the lips, in prudent observers. (Wulf Herzogenrath, François Friedrich, Jürgen Klauss...

What do you of art? thrown someone. How are you lodged? Dialogue of deaf. However little by little some exchanges crossed between the art and the real estate settled over the heads. During that time, in the bottom of the apartment, the Video family, by interposed electronics, continued to unwind her litany, offering the supreme expression of a perfects and absurd happiness.

3ƒ Stroke of spotlight on the domestic institution.

Finally, what this action proposed was a look on the domestic institution itself: how the nuclear cell, basis of our society, folded on the territory of the apartment, resists or evolves according to the pressure of the outside world. How she introduced within, horse of Troy of the modern times, the object television that is going to pour on it the devastating stream of the distresses that shakes the world. How the massacres of all kinds, the accidents, the wars, the disasters, of the whole earth, are going to come to spill at mealtimes on the domestic table. How finally, bombarded by this multitude of information, she is going to digest them and, while digesting them, to change. Critical look suggested and sustained by the put in place technical device, in a parodical, computerized, dehumanized production. To each family's member substitutes itself to his double: his technological duplicate. The load of personalization that is affected to the object television gets used to the detriment to the individual that it represents. Who is thus, after transfer, dispossessed of a part of himself to the profit of the "machine".


By a way of troubling mimetism, even though we are not always conscious of it, we end up all having a "head of television", what makes tell to the other that we kept " family's look ". But the family of yesterday does look like the family of today? It is there that intervenes our questioning, it is there that our question is put in shape, not under the classic shape of a question: but in a device of questioning that I call: Video family.

It is true that the family lost her traditional substance and that she is today, dispossessed every day more of her functions, that are taken in charge by the social organisms. The polls give optimistic results however: the family changes under the strokes but she resists valiantly! She only changes her furnitures: exchanging grandfather against the television. Yesterday she leaned on a patriarchal organization. She organized herself, and tightened herself, to the neck-and-neck, around the ancestor to benefit from his experience. Today grandfather is sent early to the asylum to be replaced advantageously by the electronic piece of furniture. Customs change and the family also.


An action as the one that we tempted with the Video family in Cologne endeavors to put in evidence and in relation the processes of transformation of our society: technical transformations, economic transformations, transformations of the life styles, transformations of the practices, customs, the desires, the values, etc. Transformation of the art.

It proposes us to become "subjects-actors" in a society that generally relegates us to consumer's unique statute. If the individuals manage to represent themselves their place, to distinguish between their own needs and those that their are imposed artificially by the system, they will be able to intervene differently in their work, in their leisures and to reach one life style giving them a bigger luck of personal achievement. The types of actions that we try to achieve, that it is the Video family, the Biennial of the year 2000, Video third age, the White invades the city, Archeology of the Rue Guénéguad, put in game all kinds of process: relations between the conditions of life, the practices and the representations, the game of the interests and needs, the role of the symbols and the imaginary. These actions put in evidence the conflicts between codified society and lived culture and, exacerbating them, proposes, to the individual as to the group, to refuse the simple reproduction of existing reports. This shape of art, (the sociological art), is located to the level of the daily life, to the level of lived in which it plunges its roots. Its land of action and virtualisation is sometimes the museum, the cultural place, but more often again the street, the workplace, or... an apartment in renting! This shape of art (even though it is challenged as such) wants to finish with the rigid distinctions between creators and spectators. It invites to the hold in charge, by the concerned persons themselves, of the tools of creation and facilities in order to permit a direct expression in all domains of existence. There are probably multiple ways to approach the experience of the Video family, to discern it, to judge it. But donít mistake: in spite of the appearances, it is not only a funny and curious provocation game due to the "sophisticated" caprice of an "artist". The Video family wishes to be a way of experimental operative model for the art of tomorrow but also for something else. This other thing remains to define, certainly. This provocation clears on a reflection that tempts to make understand to each of us the net of relations in which all social individual is enclosed, closely retained. It is from this point of conscience that we will be able to escape by the stitches of the net...


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