FRED FOREST. SHARING MEDIA
FRED FOREST. SHARING MEDIA

Online creation

FRED FOREST

Sharing Media

From 28 April to 31 October 2015

Jeu de Paume Online

Through a selection of four multimedia works spanning Fred Forest’s career, this exhibition sheds light on the artist’s appropriation of communication technologies to establish active and participatory relations with the public, anticipating the collaborative practices of Web 2.0 and today’s social networks.

A pioneer of new media, defender of a social approach to art, and tireless critic of institutional power, Fred Forest has developed since the late 1960s what he calls an “interventionist sociological practice,” at the crossroads of technology and the social. “I have always considered,” he wrote in 1985, “social activity as the field that could be enlarged and explored using new communication technologies.” He has used video, radio, television, and later the Internet in his many artistic actions, not only to record and study social relations, but also as tools to transform them through participation and dialogue.

Through a selection of four multimedia works spanning Fred Forest’s career, this exhibition sheds light on the artist’s appropriation of communication technologies to establish active and participatory relations with the public, anticipating the collaborative practices of Web 2.0 and today’s social networks. Whether by arming individuals with video cameras or by infiltrating radio or television to modify their structures, he has always sought to break with existing models of information and to promote individual expression and participation, while simultaneously prompting critical reflection on social conditions, institutions, and the media. The projects presented encourage participants to take a dissenting stance so as to appropriate the means of communication and thus gain control over information.

The Jeu de Paume’s online space offers an ideal platform for bringing together the numerous documents, photographs, and videos that make up Forest’s historic projects, whose ephemeral and site-specific nature can make them difficult to exhibit. The choice of a virtual presentation also highlights how these multimedia actions anticipated certain principles underpinning the Internet, a medium that became central to Forest’s work beginning in the mid-1990s and that serves today as an active space of participation and activism.

Ruth Erickson et Maud Jacquin

THE ARTIST