Palencia, Joaquin Gasgonia

Joaquin Gasgonia Palencia
Philippine video maker

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biography

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Interview:10 questions

1. Tell me something about your life and the educational background

My life is composed of seeming contradictions – Art and technology, logic versus spontaneity, domesticity versus itinerance, science versus emotionalism, idealism versus realism, participation versus reclusion. It has taken me my whole life to integrate all my interests and see myself, and my Art, for what it really has been, and is.
I took up Zoology in college and proceeded to finish Medicine, where Art found me.
My continuing inspiration in Art-making, my work in education and training, my socio-economic developmental work, Technology research and the democratization of Art are the engines that drive me now.

2. When, how and why started you filming?
For more than 20 years, I have practiced as an abstract painter. A few years ago, I got tired of what I believed to be the staticness of painting, its unmoving, inert quality. Video was a new medium that promised dynamism, like a moving painting, never the same from one moment to another. It is a medium of unending surprises and unpredictability. I love its spontaneity and its passion, and the freshness of the processes that lead to its production.

3. What kind of subjects have your films?
More and more I find myself interested in things that have been around me for a long time, but now, seen with new eyes. These are things,events and circumstances that have become part of my identity as an artist, an educator, and as a Filipino, hence, cultural and social realities, identity issues, nature and environment, even narrative lines. I am looking forward to more years of discovery of the topics that stoke my passion at this stage of my life and how my love for video will evolve and mature.

4. How do you develop your films, do you follow certain principles, styles etc?
When I shoot, I have a loose shot list in my head, but mainly, I follow my gut and instincts, what to shoot, when, how long, how detailed, who to include in the frame, basically all a decision based on the events as they unfold and how I react to them and which parts of them I want to work with. A lot depends on the way the real events unfold, and how this can be recorded, documented, enhanced, emphasized, mitigated, appreciated in the media. I want the video to be a real extension of the actual event. For documentaries, I don’t want a separate reality for my work, it has to proceed from the validity of the real events. This would give it integrity and truthfulness, which I think I always want to imbue my works.

5. Tell me something about the technical equipment you use.
I have always been interested more in the content than the tolls but I do not preclude my work evolving to be more aware/self-conscious of its tools of production. Currently, I use a mini-DV camera and output my videos in either DVD or avi formats.

6. What are the chances of new media for the genre film/video in general
and you personally?

I am always open to experimentation. I am currently working on a robotics project with a video component. It is a very exciting field, with a lot of media that can be melded together to form a complete whole.

7. How do you finance your films?
Self-financed, so far.

8. Do you work individually as a video artist/film maker or do you work in a team?
I work with a very small team. The subject and scope of my works so far have necessitated a team effort. I do have some small works which I take using my cameraphone, but these I take for fun and personal pleasure and I have not thought about editing them into a whole.
if you have experience in both, what is the difference, what do you prefer?
I prefer working with a team. The pleasure of producing the work stems a lot from the interaction with other people as well as the enthusiasm of the group to make a good result.

9. Who or what has a lasting influence on your film/video making?
My family, my countrymen, my country.

10. What are your future plans or dreams as a film/video maker?
I would like to continue working on my videos, integrating other media in whole works that provide environments and/or stories to be experienced multi-sensorially, and maybe do a narrative indie film.