INTEGRATED SERIES OF PUBLIC EXPERIMENTS / EVENTS WITH VARIOUS MEDIA
SAO PAULO – october 1973
ART AND COMMUNICATION – 12th SAO PAULO BIENNIAL
AWARDED THE BIENNIAL’S GRAND PRIZE IN COMMUNICATION
This action is to be seen in the historical context of 1973, when Brazil is led with an iron fist by a military junta. The artist’s act of provocation consists in wanting to use the media to create “spaces” of freedom in the press and free expression in the street. He soon faces brutal threats from the police state but ultimately succeeds thanks to the active complicity of Brazilian journalists on the spot, who help him circumvent the restrictions on free speech and public assembly. His status as both a guest artist and a foreigner gives him some leeway. Taking advantage of the circumstances, he pulls off a critical event of international dimension, relayed by newspapers around the world, calling into question the military regime of the period. Forest once again displays a unique and innate sense of how to create an event, perfect knowledge of how the news media function and malfunction, ethics, energy, and radicalness, as well as a tried and true practical creativity in response to circumstances. For him, the socio-political “happening” and “opposition” only make sense in terms of relaying information. While the artistic practice of sociological art has certain points in common with Dada or Situationism, it nonetheless acts on a different level via its direct confrontation with power and greater social impact via the channels of the mass media. In fact, its critical strength and capacity are out of all proportion to what one finds in the practice of artists such as Daniel Buren or Hans Haacke, whose “militancy” is tailor-made for the contemporary art establishment—simulacra for internal and therapeutic use by a small elite that desperately needs to soothe its troubled conscience …
TERRITORY OF M2, ANSERVILLE – 1980
A physical place of interactive exchanges, developed from the notions of network, communication and simulation. A place where natural persons engage in different types of relations on site or remotely (by mail, telephone, fax, citizen’s band or amateur radio) … each occupying physically or virtually a specific plot on the grounds measuring 1 m2 in area. This project is the logical continuation of Artistic Square Meter, which it translates into a functioning independent territory located fifty kilometers northwest of Paris. It is not a place of pure fiction but a real place that Fred Forest has shaped, arranged, and equipped over a period of twenty years by designing and perfecting both its underlying form and overall system of operation. In it, the artist has built a tool that corresponds to a new form of artistic activity. A little like some clever painter long ago invented brushes, canvas, and colors so that painting could come into existence as a means of artistic expression … just because he could! A game of communication and simulation, the project of the Territory constitutes a complex collaborative work with multiple levels of meaning and intervention.
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