Skip to content


Artist of communication and information, Professor Emeritus of the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis, PhD Sorbonne Paris I

Born in 1933 in Mascara (Algeria)

Pioneer of video art (1967), press inserts (1972), art by telephone (1973), Minitel (1982) electronic newspapers scrolling (1986) art on the Internet (1995) and on second life (2008) Virtual Reality (2015)

1973- Prize of the communication to the XII Biennial of Sao Paulo
1976- Biennial of Venice
1977- Documenta 6 Kassel
1991- Fred Forest President of the Bulgarian National TV
1995- Grand Prix of the city of Locarno for an installation linking the SSR TV to the Internet
1996- World premiere sale at Drouot of a work on the Internet
1999- Wedding on the Internet with Sophie Lavaud
2006- Retrospective at Paço das Artes, Sao Paulo (Second Life)
2007- Biennial Del fin du monde Ushuaia, Patagonia
2009- Solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sao Paulo
2007- Retrospective at the Slought Foundation, Philadelphia
2008- Solo exhibition at Bass Museum Miami for Art Basel Miami
2010- Traders Ball Second Life Lab Gallery New York
2012- Performances at MoMA New York and Centre Pompidou Paris
2013- Retrospective at the Centre des arts d'Enghien-les-Bains
2014- Personal exhibition virtual project Jeu de Paume
2017- Retrospective at the Centre Pompidou

*Fred Forest is a co-founder of the movements of sociological art and aesthetics of communication.

A multimedia artist, he has pioneered a new art, breaking with traditional teachings whose codes escape the optical order of representation, to use concepts from the informational and communicational culture.

His work of a social, critical and political nature is the result of a committed ethical practice. (site dating from 2000) (URL starting in 1996)


Fred Forest sort of had two separate lives. A first life, from his birth in 1933 in Mascara in so-called French Algeria, then from 1962 to the present day in France. Indeed, pushed outside what he had always considered to be his true country by the combined forces of the FLN and the denials of General De Gaulle, he found himself at the age of 30 on the quays in Marseille with for everything baggage, an empty suitcase and his primary school certificate.

Recent facebook exchange between Fred Forest and one of his postal worker colleagues from Mascara

His life in Algeria was at first a happy and carefree existence in a large united family, where as a postal worker he had with his colleagues, Jews and Arabs for the most part, simple and fraternal relationships. Then the war broke out. Making this beautiful country a land of desolation. The entire lands of vineyards and orange groves, the roads, the schools, the hospitals that had been built were abandoned. All those who claim the contrary today, fueled by ignorance and a deadly ideology, speak in a way distorted by the fact of their partisan vision and describe a fantasy land. It is true that the indigenous people had a much lower level of income than the majority of the pieds-noirs, but the left-wing Club Jean Moulins recognized that their standard of living was lower than that of the average Frenchman...


In short, Fred Forest, who was called Claude Forest at the time, set to work in his new life. Working alone and isolated, it took him twenty years to transform his study certificate into a doctoral thesis at the Sorbonne, to build up an image of an international artist by traveling the world, to write a dozen books, to fight without ceases against a corrupt art market and dishonest institutions.
Carry out four trials against the Center Georges Pompidou, one against the Institut Français, and finally another against the Grande Bibliothèque de France, all this energy spent to assert the basic rights of the artist against the combined powers of money , shady policies, or simply the inertia of the administrations in place, ultimately in the hands of a few politicians in a transitory manner. With in the middle of this caste, some remarkable individuals like Alain Seban, Bruno Racine, or Alain Dominique Perrin who took the time to learn about this artist before helping him significantly.

For a while longer, he had to put up with life as a postman in order to support his family, who had returned like him destitute from Algeria, as they said there, one hand in front of a hand behind. Working shoulder to shoulder, like a young lady on the telephone at the Inter Archives central in the 3rd arrondissement of Paris, where little red lights flashed on the dashboards. Little red lights that with his colleagues, lined up in tight rows they had to catch, so to speak, on the fly. So much so, that when the soap opera ended on one of the two channels that existed on TV at the time, the walls of the room on the 5th floor, where most of the staff were concentrated, the calls gradually climbed to the highest of the ceilings. At the same time, on the frames, behind the operators, the mechanical relays of the dispatchers started up, one by one, the humming of which gradually amplified like a swarm of insects waving their elytra. Stabilized at the end of the stroke at a level whose strident matched the maximum intensity of the ambient glow produced.

At that precise moment, a very strong emotion rose in him each time, for a visual phenomenon manifested before his fascinated eyes, translating better than any other, an event of a sociological nature, testifying to the growing importance of television. A close hybridization of the means of communication between telephone and television was thus taking place in front of him on a given scale, as under a magnifying glass, giving the contingent reality of this moment lived for him a quasi-prophetic meaning. An intuitive sense that would never cease to pursue him throughout his life and his practice as an artist. To the point that he was at one time nicknamed the Media Man N ° 1.

It is true that his practice, using in pioneering art, the telephone, the walkie-talkie, the slow-scan, the radio, the minitel, electronic diode newspapers, then finally, Internet and Second Life, he could not escape from this pseudonym, which some, without it in any way bothering him, could load with a shade of irony, with which he was eager to play himself.

Fred Forest has always considered himself very lucky. This lucky star first allowed him to quit his post as a postman to be appointed teacher in one of the best schools at the time the one in Cergy. Assigned to teach color, he grabs some video equipment which he discovers in a cabinet. With this opportunity, he gave up color on his own and established the first video art education in France, through a studio that lasted until his departure from Cergy for the University of Nice with a state doctorate. Sustained doctorate, at the Sorbonne in 1985, in 1996 he was appointed Professor at the University of Nice and holder of the Information and Communication Chair of this University.

Fred Forest, doing nothing like the others, made his thesis a performance which was the first thesis defended in France with audiovisual means. Barely arrived in Nice, he created and directed a European seminar dedicated to the Internet and new technologies, which took place at the MAMAC, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Nice, where artists and theorists of all nationalities parade. Through this seminar, he introduced the teaching of the Internet at the University of Nice and Sophia Antipolis. Nevertheless, he pursues his own actions in Europe, the Indies, the USA and mainly in Brazil.

With Eduardo Kac, they both inaugurated, on the occasion of the latter's intervention in his seminar in Nice, distance learning courses via the Internet. In order to keep in touch with their student teams, even when they are traveling to faraway countries ...

Fred Forest has created events throughout its existence.

Below are about ten rather significant ones, whose audience has exceeded by their scale, as by their sociological, political and ethical connotations, the art world, giving the artist an almost demiurgic dimension.

-In 1969 he created the first video installation in Tours in a disused church in an exhibition in which he invited the musician Luc Ferrari, head of the Research Department (GRM) who directs Pierre Schaeffer to participate. With a second collaboration for the Osaka Universal Exhibition, joined by Canadian visual artist Pierre Lafleur.

-In 1972 he introduced a minute of silence in the news on the second French National channel.

- In 1973 he won the Communication Prize at the Sao Paulo Biennale after various media actions including that "White invades the city" which under the military regime of the time earned him arrest by the police.

- In 1974, leader of French videographers, he took part in the City of Paris's Museum of Modern Art in the first international exhibition dedicated to Video-Art.

- In 1977 he launched his artistic M2 action. Critical action against contemporary art and its highly publicized market.

- In 1982 he participated in the ELECTRA exhibition staged by Frank Popper where he used 40 telephone lines and the Minitel.

- In 1985 Defense of his State Doctorate at the Sorbonne (First doctorate in France supported with audiovisual systems

IN 1992 Fred Forest President of Bulgarian TV

-In 1996 Plot-Network

-1997 and 2007 In 2007 Watchtowers of Peace Sarajevo

-In 1997 Le Techno-Mariage 1997

-In 2010 Trader Ball

-In 2015 OSI Center Pompidou

-In 2017 Retrospective Center Pompidou Le Territoire du M2 presented by Pierre Restany