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La famille vidéo, Studio Panten à Kôln

One of his friends put her flat up for sale, giving Fred Forest the idea of creating a video installation.


Cologne (DE)

Typology: Dispositif

Medium and media: Vidéo


La famille vidéo Kôln

La famille vidéo, studio Panten

One of his friends put her flat up for sale, giving Fred Forest the idea of creating a video installation.

In this completely empty flat, in the form of 4 monitors representing a staged scene of this family with the Father, the Mother and the two children, he pre-recorded the discussion between the parents in the bedroom, the daughter in the bathroom and Fabian the Baby who cries non-stop in his room. At the same time, he published a series of advertisements in the property section of the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger:

  • First provocation: in a departure from conventional real estate practice, the text of the ad invites fans to visit the property and witness "perfect family happiness".
  • Second provocation: Forest, which carries out its activities in the name of art, simultaneously issues a specific invitation to the cultural public, just as a gallery would do for this exhibition.

The two audiences who meet in the gallery exchange practical information in which their social concerns overlap in a very natural way.
Once again, Forest is breaking new ground by creatively intervening in social communication channels and overturning the way they work.

Famille vidéo


In a large empty flat in a residential area of Cologne, Fred Forest has set up a fictitious family: "The Video Family". Each of the five members of the family is embodied by a video monitor, placed in a given room. The T.V. screen, as the dominant symbol, takes pride of place in the living/dining room, running continuously and broadcasting the programme of ARD, Germany's leading national channel. Monitors, screens and video recorders are spread across the floor in the other rooms of the flat. The space is empty of all furniture and accessories. At the same time, the artist published advertisements in the property section of the national and local press. These announcements invite the possible candidates, before renting of the places, to come to see visually, the real happiness of the Video Family on the spot. Visiting hours are given. Intrigued applicants and many curious people, attracted by the unusual nature of the ad, flock to the site. The artist, video camera in hand, welcomes them for a tour of the premises...
Although the sound on each monitor is perfectly audible, the images are deliberately blurred... The aim is to encourage the imagination and projection of each visitor, so that they envy the perfect 'cathode-ray' of this ideal family that is being offered here and now! Too ideal, no doubt, for the artist's biting, corrosive humour not to fall on deaf ears... At the same time, and at the same times, the public in the art world was invited by invitation card, as is customary at traditional openings. Ironically, the invitation stated that artists could now do without museums and galleries, provided they had an empty flat, a classified ad in the property section of a newspaper, and a few television sets.


  • an empty flat waiting to be rented
  • six Sony ACE-av 3670 video recorders
  • six Sony widescreen monitors
  • a Sony 1/2-inch portapack and camera
  • a series of classified ads published in the property section of Kölner Stadt Anzeiger
  • " Leben der Familie Video ", E.Kluge, Kölner Stadt Anzeiger, 1 juillet 1976
  • " La Famille Vidéo ", Communication et langages, N°33, Paris 1977
1976 Kolnischer Famille Vidéo
1976 Kolnischer Famille Vidéo


1976 Famille Vidéo
1976 Famille Vidéo



Fred Forest has a special place in contemporary art. Both by his personality and by his pioneering practices which mark his work. He is mainly known today for having used one by one most of the communication media that have appeared over the last fifty years. He is co-founder of three artistic movements: those of sociological art, the aesthetics of communication and ethics in art.

He represented France at the 12th São Paulo Biennale (Communication Prize) in 1973, at the 37th Venice Biennale in 1976 and at Documenta 6 in Kassel in 1977.