Le Moulin de Ventabren, 7 July - Julien Blaine
We first heard of Julien Blaine in 1979 during our Italian trip, from his great friend and fellow poet Adriano Spatola, who, like Blaine, lives in a windmill… 41-year old Julien Blaine is a well-known figure in the French “world of poetry”, not only because of his visual, concrete and phonic works of art but also because of his activities as an organiser and publisher. Since 1962 he has taken part in the running of a number of experimental poetry publications. In 1962 he participated as an editor for the "Les Carnets de l´Octéor", then from 1966 to 1969 for "Approches", a literary journal which assumed major significance, and from 1967-71 for "Robho". In 1976 he founded the Doc(k)s anthology series, which has now reached its 53rd issue (volume 15). Doc(k)s provides an arena for any form of poetry that can appear in a book format. Blaine turns his attention to all parts of the world. Individual issues of Doc(k)s is often devoted to the experimental poetry of a given ethnicity or country. For example, separate volumes have been published about Latin America, Japan, Yugoslavia, Catalan poetry, Poland, Corsica, the Eastern European countries, the USA, China and Spain. Every single issue carries a huge amount of information on the various events going on in the world of poetry, such as poetry recital evenings, debates and various performance art events…Another interesting series published by Blaine is "Unfinitude" (editor: Angeline Neveu), which is exclusively produced by photocopying. These publications seek to explore the artistic possibilities inherent in xeroxing technology. Half a dozen booklets have been published in this series so far, each having been the work of an individual artist. The booklets clearly reflect how the Xerox machine has transformed into a tool of artistic expression: each xeroxed print is different depending on the quality of the ink and the brightness. There are further opportunities in rotating “templates” or superimposing xeroxed layers, etc.
We arrived at the mill in Ventabren in the early afternoon of 7 July, in stifling heat and to the intense chirping of crickets…Julien had had to leave unexpectedly and only came back in the evening, but we were greeted cheerfully by his wife and three children. After the last few hectic days and so much driving we were able to spend the afternoon nicely sunbathing around the family’s little swimming pool feasting on green figs. The afternoon TV programme, which the children enthusiastically invited us to watch, was nothing other that a full-hour programme about Hungary on the occasion of Mitterand’s visit there. The beautifully colourful programme was simply amazing.
The next afternoon we continued our journey. Blaine gave Artpool a full series of all the Doc(k)s, Zerroscopíz and Unfinitude issues published up to then, saying that there would never again be another occasion when we would be able to save so much on postage. With yet another box of books we set off towards the Cote d´Azur.