Dinorah de Jesús Rodriguez (b. Cuba, 1957) is a Miami-based artist and experimental filmmaker working with expanded cinema, public intervention, installation, and multimedia design for stage. Often incorporating nature and the outdoors into her work, Rodriguez probes such themes as genetic memory, social constructs, ecology, the body, gender, and sexuality. Combining handcrafted 16mm film with video, installation, and performance, her pieces are exhibited internationally in film festivals, museums, galleries, TV, public venues, and multimedia performances, as well as in public spaces as interventions. Known for her multidisciplinary collaborations, Rodriguez has worked with a variety of international artists.
Rodriguez recently completed a dance film and installation entitled gods always behave like the people who make them based on the life of Zora Neale Hurston, in collaboration with choreographer and dancer Shaneeka Harrell and hiphop/rap artist Sista Whirlwind. This work opened in January 2016 at the University of Central Florida Gallery in Orlando, FL.
Current and recent media design projects include collaborations with Teatro Buendía in Havana, Cuba and El Ingenio Teatro in Miami (Burdel, work-in-progress 2016); Pulitzer-winner, playwright and director Nilo Cruz (Tsunami, 2015); blind theater director José Manuel Domínguez (La Princesa Aoi, 2015); choreographer and dancer Niurca Márquez and Nu Flamenco (History House, 2014); mixed-ability dance company Karen Peterson and Dancers (Grit, 2014); choreographer and dancer Afua Hall (RED, 2013). In 2012, Rodriguez was invited to visit Bangladesh and collaborate with fellow filmmaker and theater director Yasmine Kabir on the co-direction of a folkloric musical theater work (Amina Sundori, 2012) presented in Chittagong, Bangladesh as part of the Chittagong Arts Festival 2012. Prior to this, Rodriguez provided media design for projects with movement theater artists Lucia Aratanha (Swallowing the Moon, 2009), Jennylin Duany and Elizabeth Doud (Cabaret Unkempt, 2007), Octavio Campos (IPO, 2005), Helena Thevenot (The Anatomy of Desire, 2001) and Ricky Martinez (.epar, 1998), among others.
Committed to community-based work in public venues, and work that blends visual art and qualities of live performance, in September 2014, commissioned by Present Project Hawaii, Rodriguez presented migrants/migrantes a site-specific multimedia installation in Honolulu as part of an educational residency. This work included a live and recorded soundtrack in collaboration with Honolulu-based sound artist Steven Rosenthal. In 2009, she won The FAN/Knight New Work Award, presented by Funding Arts Network and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, to create Elusive Landscape, a series of outdoor film installations that featured multiple live 16mm film projections into trees and foliage, presented at five outdoor locations across Miami from June-October 2010. These venues included three public parks as well as the Miami Beach Botanical Garden and Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. Prior to this, Rodriguez premiered a site-specific installation work entitled ephemera at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden during Sleepless Night, 2009 and one entitled ellos y nosotros: them & us, at the Project Room at Hollywood Art & Culture Center in 2010. The interactive and ephemeral properties of each of these works integrate the immediacy of performance art with the materiality of visual art, and employ celluloid film projections as “live entertainment” much as they were originally designed to function in the early days of cinema as an outgrowth of live theater.
In 2011, Rodriguez presented sonámbula, a film/video installation commissioned by the City of Miami Beach for presentation at Miami Beach Cinematheque during Sleepless Night 2011, again using live film projections. In 2012 she presented agua florida: free-swimming fish, a site-specific indoor-/outdoor multimedia installation commissioned by the Deering Estate for presentation during the 2012 SoBay Cultural Arts Festival. Other Recent projects include mujer_cita_MIA (2013), a series of feminist art videos on rape and sexual assault installed in public women’s rest rooms across Miami, and RUINS (2010), a collaborative work with London-based artist Anita Ponton presented in cafés around the world.
Rodriguez studied filmmaking with such visionary experimentalists as Barbara Hammer, Trinh T. Minh-ha, Rob Nilsson and the late Warren Sonbert and Marlon Riggs, and earned a B.A. in Film Production from San Francisco State University School of Creative Arts in 1988. She has won prizes at the Big Muddy and Black Maria Film Festivals, and her work has been supported by such organizations as Present Project Hawaii, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Funding Arts Network, FUNDarte, Arts & Bangladesh, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Fundación Valparaíso, Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, Atlantic Center for the Arts, Jentel Artists Residency Program, Visual Studies Workshop, Tigertail Productions, Miami Light Project, San Francisco Festival 2000, and Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, among others.
Rodriguez has been a visiting faculty artist in the MFA Program at SUNY’s Visual Studies Workshop, visiting artist at the University of Hawaii and University of Central Florida, teaching artist for Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA Program, and guest lecturer at Sweet Briar College, the University of California at Davis, and Florida International University. She has served on the selection committees for YoungArts, Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation’s National Video Resources, Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, the Louisiana Division of the Arts, the North and South Carolina Art Councils, and Miami-Dade Department of Cultural Affairs.
After emigrating from her native Cuba during her childhood, Rodriguez has spent most of her life in various cities within the United States, with personal and professional residency periods in Spain, Dominican Republic, Bangladesh, Brazil, Hawai’i, and other locations.