Richard Coronel - Chasing salvation

2:45, 2012, Video Art
Single-channel video (loop). 2:45 min

We see a colorful, bright-lit carousel ride in soft focus. Suddenly, images become pale yet more focused, showing an empty carousel that runs backward--with horses’ heads covered in black plastic garbage bags. It ends in its original image-soft-focused, colorful, and bright-lit-but this time Dutch-tilted.

"The artist...[took] a footage of [a] carousel-a loaded image about childhood fantasy-in order to speak of individual life struggles mirrored in most social structures... His work seeks to stimulate contemplation on existence and purpose, and the conflicts that arise as these clash with our selfish and worldly desires." (from a curatorial essay by Geronimo Cristobal)
DirectorRichard CoronelProducerRichard CoronelCameraRichard CoronelEditorRichard CoronelComposerThe Marble Owl By Tom Fahy

CountryPhilippinesEdition2013 BudgetLimited budgetScreeningsJuly-August 2012. Light & Space Contemporary. Philippines.

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What is Chasing Salvation about?
It’s about the struggle of purpose and desires.

How did you start with film? And do you have an educational background in art or film?
Initially, I wanted to become a documentary filmmaker. First, I studied video production at the University of the Philippines Film Institute, then I took advanced film studies at the Asia Pacific Film Institute that was then under the tutelage of the late Marilou Diaz-Abaya.

Could you explain how you work, what themes or concepts you use and what is important to you?
I get ideas from my or other people’s pain, depression, anger, happiness and kindness. But mostly pain. I’ve always been fascinated with how sado-masochism seems to have become a context of the Filipino psyche. I love exploring this theme.

How long do you usually work on one project?
It depends on my feelings. Am I insecure today? Am I carefree today? But most of the time my process is very long! I have a lot of considerations to deal with. When I couldn’t handle the pressure much longer I’d just go "Fuck it! Let’s do this!"

Do you carefully plan the production process or do you work more intuitive?
I believe that content precedes form so it’s been my practice to do a lot of thinking, mostly about symbols, before the actual production. More often than not, changes do take place. The production process, including my mood, financial standing, relationship status, and even the weather, becomes a very integral part of how the film would look like.

How does the title relate to the work, and how do you find a fitting title?
The horses in a carousel run in circles. Uncertainties linger. It invokes the feeling of being unconsciously blinded toward being lost. You just live each day unsure of what you really wanna be and where you really wanna go. Sometimes, your heart knows where to go but your mundane needs dictate that you go elsewhere not realizing that it shackles your soul. Each of us is hustling for and chasing our own salvation. The title speaks of what I really wanted to say.

How important is sound in film, and if you use sounds, do you create your own or use existing?
Of course, it’s great when not just one sensory organ is titillated but it really depends on the creator’s artistic purpose. Just as with any other art form, the intention will always be important. I have made and used my own sound once. I’d love to do it again in my future projects.

What possibilities of the web are yet to be explored?
I think there’s a lot. Recently I, together with my artist friend Julius Redillas, had a chance to collaborate on a multimedia virtual exhibition which we made in SecondLife. We had audiences from around the globe, a thing we couldn’t have done had we decided not to do it online. This almost dream-like possibility of being able to be someone and interact with your audience’s avatars as an art form is amazing and needs attention from fellow artists and art lovers alike.

Did the web changed your view on art, or your career?
The web almost democratized everything, art included.

What is your next project about?
I am still in the process of revising my script for a long overdue film. I am also in the preparatory stage of a documentary film about teachers of English as a foreign language to Korean learners.

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