2nd Vol,No1 (July 2015)
Canadian artist and poet, Roland Bastien BY Nalini Priyadarshni
Roland Bastien is a multimedia artist, composer (new music) and poet. He started his career in Montreal’s Avant-Garde scene in 1979. His performance works were shown at Tangente Danse Actuelle- vehicle-Art, the temples for new ideas in performance at the time, – Vancouver (Western front), – Toronto,(Power Plant) -New-York – Italy (Venice, Milano) – Paris, Beaubourg (Into the Josef Buys retrospective show at Beaubourg).In the 80’s, he collaborated with Janitor Animated, a progressive punk group and created two multimedia and text performances: Post-Nuclear and Coyote.He also performed at York Gallery in Toronto (music tape, texts and clarinet) a multimedia show.In the 90’s, he collaborated with Asian artists, Marilou Esguerra, Chiwen Liu and Eileen Kage in three major multimedia performances in Vancouver.
As a Pianist, he collaborated with Vietnamese multi-instrumentalist NgocBich, percussionist Joseph Pepe Danza, Lan Tung (Chinese fiddle), the master of Zheng: Mei Han, a Korean Kayagum master: Jung Ae Lee, Coat Cooke, Clyde Reed (multi-instrumentalists and Dylan Van Der Schyff percussionist.
As a composer, they have certified his chamber music score ‘Les arbres en
fleurs ‘ as a finalist at the Elisabeth Schneider Foundation in Germany in
2000. He wrote 75 chamber music scores, 100 Piano solo scores and several
patterns of computer generated music.
As a poet he won the overall prize in February 2006 at the fourth International poetry
Competition for his poem ‘Mother’. The international library of poetry has published his poems in two books:Who’s who in poetry in 2004 and The best poets in 2004. In 2005, Masque publishing in England, in their Decanto Poetry Magazine has published his poems in their April 16th issue and October 19th issue and several others. The American Poets Society has published his poems in Reflections.
As a multi disciplinary artist he divides his time between composing music, digital art and poetry. He won a visual art prize in 1981 for his formal works “Semantic phase V” and his works were highly sought after by the Canadian museums. In 2006, He lives and works in Vancouver, Canada.
Nalini – What does it mean to you to be a poet?
Roland – It’s a huge responsibility that challenges my whole life. I capture reality and phenomena through a poetic length; and most of the time, I end with a mathematical or philosophical issues from which I have to set either a vision or a matter. This is all my poetry is about.
Nalini – Tell us about your artistic journey. What attracted you towards poetry and visual art?
Roland – I’ll never be able to disregard presence of poetry in other art forms. As a child, I noticed the dances on stage were performed on songs where poetry dominated, the plots and words in a play needed sculptures on stage to be real. I was irritated by modernists when they said I am “a touché a tout” and cannot focus on one art form only. I am a 60’s produce from all stages and states and also a 80’s post-modern man. My journey was hard and solitary, in a sense without any real support. I was married with kids to feed.
Nalini – How important was your formal education in getting to where you are now?
Roland – It was clear to everyone, since my early age that I would either be an artist or a monk. They all created conditions and gave me the tools to persecute my calling. I learnt from a catholic Dominican order monk, who became protestant the contemplative teaching of natural law. He was a family member and I took its teaching seriously. Several university teachers like Maurice Lubin from Sorbonne, Paris, Bernard Bastien and the author Felix Courtois were great guides for me until I reached the age of 14. My University was mostly an occasion to lead projects more than any other things. When I look back at theory and philosophy of my art, my poetry and short stories, I can see where they came from, easily. https://ello.co/rbastien
Nalini – How does a poem begin for you – a word an image or a line?
Roland – It starts with an atmosphere created by synapses, neurons or nerve system. Most of the time, it ends with an emotional status. I search for words that might be used to trace that maze reality. Through it, I pick up sounds, graph’s outlets or others, like key signatures words carry. It is a sort of laboratory as Andre Breton called it “le rapport des vases communicants”.
Nalini – How long does it take you to write a poem?
Roland – A haiku can take me around 12 hours. Lines carry a particular reality or vision. In my case, they never portray a unique aspect of their nature, but an autonomous view that regulates to the global setup.
Nalini – Do you spend a long time revising?
Roland – I am afraid to say that: A poem never ended for me. As long as it stays on my reading level, I change its aspect, add more or less feeling, reformat it. I think this attitude came from my musician background. We search for a better way to play a score, from us or others. Each copy can live alone. Ginsberg edited his poem, Howl several times and they printed them in a book of 125 pages from the same poem. Sometimes I read my printed poems in book or poetry magazines and have idea to change them again. Most of the time I made variations on them as composer did (Bach is one of the great master of that genre.)
Nalini – What is your opinion about artistic collaboration between two artists coming from different cultures?
Roland – I have propagated for the last two decades the idea that trans- culturality is the new way of life and artists must sort problems that come from such practice and develop mode of taught that might feed the global world with good energy. I had the privilege to live in Vancouver for a decade and half and explore the vast East Asian culture without that multicultural exotic attitude. The transculturality is the DNA of the new mode that took place after the post colonial failure. We must create parameters together to explore it. Without that, we will be slave into the global world.
Nalini – How has internet and social media affected art scene.
Roland – Not really unsure about it. The copyright for digital works in websites or face book is not yet clear and I do not have fees when my poetry illustrated banners. But they help us to meet interesting people and we can promote our ideas.
Nalini – What is your opinion on self- publishing as opposed to traditional publishing?
Roland – Self-publishing can be traditional as well. Most of the time, it creates a genre, the main stream’s exclusions. In my case, I had traditional published poems as well as experimental ones that find a better outfit into Amazon Kindle publishing setting.
My first eBook ‘ Beyond” / https://www.amazon.com/author/rolandbastien questions all the semantic patterns left by the post- modernism and recoded them into a new semantic mode, only new technology can offer and endorse such adventure. In that book, you can have interactive images and texts, including sounds and videos. Traditional book cannot display such interest.
My poetry eBook “A view from my mind” http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00P8ACYCE is there also for the same raison. I displayed colors on poetry lines that give you a 3D impression, while reading them. Therefore the ideas behind words did it as well.My last eBook project is a traditional form and can be publish easily by a traditional publisher. I am too lazy to find one or too immediate to wait for one 🙂