Julio Velasco (Colombia)
Interview: 10 questions
1. Tell me something about your life and the educational background
I was born in Bogotá, Colombia, where I grew up and began my art studies. I left the country when I was 22 years old to live first in Barcelona, for one year and a half, and then in Paris. In Paris I studied Arts and Art History. I worked as a graphic artist for many years to earn my living, but especially because a regular income was necessary for a visa and a legal staying in France. Finally, when I got French nationality, I stopped this job and worked only for my artistic (and very irregular incoming) activity. I also lived in Rome for 5 years.
2. When, how and why started you filming?
My relation with video was built along many periods.
While I worked as graphic artist, I used some film software and I made a couple of short films without camera, which are animated films for my job. Moreover, and for years, video equipment was too expensive and couldn’t be used for my personal projects. I made my « real » first films from one of my artworks exhibitions (painting on photographs) showed in Viterbo, Italy. The idea was to use it for my art dossier. It was a nice experience and I kept working on it.
3. What kind of subjects have your films?
In a general way, I’m interested in the relationship between « established » and « popular » aesthetics. This theme leaves a lot of space for every kind of research. I try to understand ordinary and quotidian beauty and the way Art seize it. To summarize, I try to catch the way the fat woman in her kitchen becomes a Vermeer’s work.
4. How do you develop your films, do you follow certain principles, styles etc?
Most often (but I think it’s the same for everybody), after I have an idea for a film, there’re two moments for the realisation; the first one with the camera, and the second with the computer. Both are almost opposed, in the first one everything seems interesting and essential, so I register with no limits every sound and every image, afraid to miss anything; then, in the second moment with the computer, I cancel almost everything, because I find my takes not satisfactory, and I try to make my film with those surviving.
5. Tell me something about the technical equipment you use.
My equipment is very simple, almost minimalist. Only now I’m getting a HD camera. Usually I work with a little Sony camera with a zoom in and out, and almost nothing else (the new one does the same but in HD). I have a Mac computer with a middle size screen and the software I use is Final Cut.
6. What are the chances of new media for the genre film/video in general and you personally?
I think new medias are fundamental for video. They permit it to exist as a specific art. If not, film would be completely subordinated to cinema and T.V. and limited by them. To be a filmmaker became much cheaper and possible for everyone (included me). And, thanks to Internet, diffusion of films is not reduced to TV networks and multiplex, or family and friendly presentations over the weekend. This profusion could produce some disturbs and, sometimes, a quality diminution, but that’s the price when technologies became « social » and (as it happened with photography), after a while, I think, it’s possible to differentiate clearly creations of quality and those less interesting.
7. How do you finance your films?
That’s the weak point of this system. Production and diffusion of a video is not expensive any more. But, even if it’s very pleasing to have a known and appreciated work, it doesn’t pay back. Some galleries sell DVD videos in limited and numbered series (as lithography). I don’t believe that it could be a real solution because it’s in flat contradiction with the nature of the video. Video can be reproduced an infinity number of times with any quality reduction, in new medias there are not a single original work. It’s more logical to sell rights or publishing rights of the films, but in any case there are very few buyers.
Anyway, every artist using every kind of materials (or immaterials) faces the same problem and, for the moment, we only have personal and provisional solutions.
8. Do you work individually as a video artist/film maker or do you work in a team?
if you have experience in both, what is the difference, what do you prefer?
Usually I work alone for the whole film production process, and that’s one of the qualities I prefer in video today. In « N.Orleans » (Cologne off I – official selection) I worked in collaboration with another artist and friend (Matthew Fink) for the first time. It was a difficult challenge and finally, a successful experience that I would repeat for sure. But in anyway, I wouldn’t like my video to become a complicated construction employing many people; I think, in that case, I would do the job of a factory chief more than one of an artist.
9. Who or what has a lasting influence on your film/video making?
There’re a lot of influences on my work. In the film sector, I must quote avant-gardes researches at the beginning of the 20th century, F. Léger, Moholy-Nagy and, more recently J. Cage, Nam June Paik and Fluxus works. For art in general, I was influenced by classic painters (Vermeer, Caravaggio) or modern artists (Kosuth or Bacon), but also by modern dance or theatre and even by literature (Bill T. Jones, Sacha Waltz, Peter Brooks or W.G. Sebald, and by many other artists more or less famous). I followed also J.F. Lyotard’s teaching at the university and I was very influenced by his theories on art.
10. What are your future plans or dreams as a film/video maker?
I’m working on many videos projects in this moment. Some of them are very linked to sounds research: a Paris four seasons symphony (from ordinary Parisian noises), and a composition about love noises (It doesn’t need comments, I believe). I also think to make a video about Heloise and Abelard, particularly about their tomb at « Père Lachaise », the Parisian cemetery. Finally, a more ambitious and longer project: a triptych about love, work and death.
My dream as video maker: a camera with an intelligent image stabilisator.
Can works of yours viewed online besides on VideoChannel? Where?
List some links & resources
and for my non-video works: