Welcome to Elusive Landscape

Elusive Landscape was presented at five outdoor locations across Miami from June to October 2010. This work consists of multiple hand-crafted 16mm films depicting the forms and colors of natural landscapes projected directly into the landscapes themselves. All events were free and open to the public.

Artist Dinorah de Jesús Rodriguez brings to this project over 30 years’ experience in hand-crafted 16mm filmmaking, as well as a history of moving image installation, including several works which have included projections in the outdoors. Her work is exhibited internationally in film festivals, museums, galleries, independent venues and public spaces, and she has received numerous grants, fellowships and residency awards for her work.

Unique soundscapes for each site were created by composer and sound designer Ricardo Lastre, best recognized for his work with Las Negras Performance Ensemble, Lucia Aratanha, Giovanni Luquini Performance Troupe, Akropolis Acting Company and the late Jennylin Duany.

Following the five outdoor installations, there will be an exhibition at Diaspora Vibe Gallery showing the films as well as the filmstrips themselves, and a video documenting the entire process of creating and exhibiting this work.

Elusive Landscape: Miami

Photo Catalogue of Highlights from Elusive Landscape

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Elusive Landscape: Miami

Documentation of the five installations, some clips of the artist's process, and a few of the films that were projected at the five sites.

Thank you again to all who assisted with and contributed to this project.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


An unbelievable evening in an unbelievable setting. A beautiful crowd gathered to hear me speak about the work and to indulge in the experience of the relationship between the art, the location, and our shared energy within it. Ricardo Lastre's intoxicating soundscape haunted the fresh, humid night with gypsy chants, ambient sounds and chamber music, adding additional layers and dimension to the space.

Thank you again to my crew: Raúl Garcia, Alejandro Contreras, Loriel Beltrán. Thanks to the staff at Vizcaya and to the many who attended and participated in the art. A special thanks to those who took the time to walk the labyrinth in the Maze Garden.

Photos by Luis Olazabal, Blue Jazz Photo

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Elusive Landscape: Final Installation at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

Thursday, October 7 from 8-10PM

It is with genuine awe and honor that I load up my projectors to present the final outdoor installation of Elusive Landscape in the breathtakingly gorgeous gardens of Miami's most unique museum, and one of the most inspiring locations I've ever seen in my life. Elusive Landscape will be on view this Thursday evening in Vizcaya's charming Theater Garden, the adjacent Maze Garden, and the Statuary Walk that joins the two.

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens occupies 50 acres overlooking Biscayne Bay, preserving the Miami estate of agricultural industrialist James Deering. This historic South Florida landmark was built between 1914 and 1922, a product of the Gilded Age during which U.S. industrialists built lavish mansions inspired by those of Europe. The uniqueness of Vizcaya lies in its subtropical location (a far cry from Newport) and in Deering's reverence for the natural landscape and ecosystem of the native South Floridian wetlands. At a time when South Florida was considered worthless, unfarmable swampland, and the prevailing local preoccupation was a plan to drain and dry up the Everglades, Deering - a conservationist way ahead of his time - opted to preserve 25 acres of primary growth forest ecosystems, including a native rockland hammock and mangrove forest, as well as a historic farm village that is now being restored. Vizcaya's breathtaking landscape is also home to many Floridian plant species, including the Florida Butterfly Orchid, the endangered Brittle Maidenhair Fern and the Redberry Stopper.

Vizcaya's gardens were designed by Colombian-born landscape architect Diego Suarez between 1914 and 1917. Suarez adapted classical European landscape design to Miami's subtropical climate and terrain, working with native soil and plant materials to create aesthetic arrangements reminiscent of European gardens. Incorporating a vast and eclectic collection of outdoor sculpture, the gardens of Vizcaya are considered the finest Italianate gardens in the United States. Graced by numerous fountains and the soothing sound of water gently streaming through coral rock, a visit to the gardens of Vizcaya is an intimate encounter with the muses in their natural habitat. An immensely popular setting for photographing brides and quinceañeras, this legendary location is a visual love-affair between the elegantly manicured gardens and the unleashed wildness of the natural mangrove swamp. Thick humidity and bugs abound, underscoring the subtropical soul of this grandiose meeting ground where art and nature cavort as equal bedfellows. No other place I can think of could more aptly be described as "paradise."

Admission will be complimentary. Wine and light refreshments will be available for purchase, and my home-made natural insect repellent will be on hand for free as usual. My heartfelt thanks go out to the very generous staff at Vizcaya who has worked closely with me to make this event a reality.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Miami Beach Botanical Garden ~ Splendor in the Grasses!

Some 200 visitors enjoyed the projections in the exotic Japanese Garden at Miami Beach Botanical Garden on the evening of September 11. One group spread out a picnic blanket, opened a bottle of wine, and stayed for the entire duration. We saw a lot of Garden regulars, including landscape architects, environmentalists, and other gardening and cultivation enthusiasts, as well as a good crowd of film buffs and video artists interested in the concept of expanded cinema. The lovely Garden staff allowed us to remain open well past 11PM to accommodate those who popped in after the Wynwood Arts District Gallery Walk.

One of my great joys in presenting this piece was the success of the projections on water features. The Garden itself is a stylized configuration of varied bamboo and other grasses, the quintessential red bridge overlooking the lotus pond, a rustic fountain comprised of stacked natural stone, and other Asian-themed sculptural elements. I was able to project on both the pond and the fountain with astoundingly beautiful results.

Ricardo's soundscape contained the unlikely meshing of club beats with native drumming. The whirring of the projectors mingled with the babbling water sounds of the stone fountain filled out the sonorous effect, while the humid scent of exotic herbs and flowers completed this mutltisensorial experience.

Thank you to all who came out to enjoy the humidity and fragrance, the elusive imagery and the landscape. Thanks as always to the magnificent crew and the great staff at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden.

Photos by Luis Olazabal/blue jazz photo - thanks again Luis!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Miami Beach Botanical Garden

Saturday, September 11

Elusive Landscape will next animate the foliage at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden, at 2000 Convention Center Drive in Miami Beach, next door to the Holocaust Memorial and across the street from the Miami Beach Convention Center.

One of my favorite locations in all of metropolitan Miami, this garden is a sublime place to relax, read, learn about horticulture, and smell the fragrance of exotics such as ylang ylang. The presence of nature embellished with several contemporary art installations is stimulating and calming at once. A perfect spot for an intimate and classy wedding reception amid the lush greenery and surrounded by the energy of South Beach.

Our projectors will be rolling in the Japanese Garden area, where the foliage is dense, the lights are dim and the beautiful lotus pond serves as a liquid centerpiece. The best way to find this area is to enter by way of the parking lot behind the Holocaust Memorial.

Be sure to check out the variety and abundance of permanent outdoor sculptures, as well as the orchids and other exotic flowers on display around the 4.5 acre garden. Stop by their guest board to pick up the latest information about the variety of lectures, programs and activities that the Garden offers.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Elusive Landscape: Sewell Park ~ Rolling on the River!

August 14, 2010

Please double-click on the video to see full-screen version.

Little Havana locals who happened to be at Sewell Park on the evening of August 14 were surprised and unanimously delighted by the flickering cocoon of dancing lines and ephemeral images created by our seven 16mm projections into the trees. Ricardo Lastre's amazing theatrical soundscape simulating the rituals and ceremonial drumming of a Misa Espiritual provoked curiosity, laughter and awe all at once. The flickering imagery was visible on both sides of the dense canopy, and was appreciated by those who went by on boats along the river as well as the passersby within the park itself. The effect was gorgeous, and the night absolutely magical. Soccer players, schoolchildren, parents pushing strollers, couples on romantic walks, and old Cuban guys with fishing poles all got in on the good outdoor fun, and we really experienced how a simple, strategically-placed public art intervention can have a tremendous impact on people in the community. Everybody had something to say, and by far most of it was intelligent, insightful, articulate and significant. People absolutely got it! So much for the myth of experimental film being an "elitist" medium. That is the one myth that I have most wanted to smash to smithereens during my entire career. Mil Gracias to all the good people at El Parque de las Palmeras for helping me to do just that.

Again: Thank you to my fine crew of amazing creative professionals.

The next installation of Elusive Landscape will be at Miami Beach Botanical Garden on Saturday, September 11 from 8-10 PM.

Video documentation by Kijik Media
Photos by Luis Olazabal, Blue Jazz Photo

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Elusive Landscape: Sewell Park

The next installation of Elusive Landscape will take place at E. G. Sewell Park, 1801 NW South River Drive in Miami on Saturday, August 14 from 8-10PM.

One of Miami's most gorgeous natural environments, nestled near Little Havana, Overtown and Downtown Miami, Sewell Park stretches imperceptibly along the banks of the Miami River, forming an enclave of majestic Royal Palms and Grand Poincianas intermingled with untamed native foliage.

This park has few amenities other than a small playground for children and a few benches, and is ideal for romantic interludes, quiet picnics and dog walking. By day, the pastime is watching boats go by. By night, the view of city lights reflected on the water's surface is dazzling, and breezes from the river make for pleasant strolling through the wooded canopies.

Most times I've been there, there has simply been nobody around. Yet, the park does have a mystical reputation, and people have heard of it if not visited it. You can see it from the 12th Avenue Bridge heading toward Little Havana from the Jackson Hospital area. Known among locals as el Parque de las Palmeras, Sewell Park is a popular spot for Santeria ceremonies, as it provides direct access both to the waters of the river and to the sacred Royal Palms. A perfect place for the union of art and nature.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Elusive Landscape: Legion Park ~ Video

Please double-click on the video to see the full-screen version.

Thanks to Kijik Media for video documentation.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Elusive Landscape: Legion Park

July 17, 2010

This was a midsummer night of energetic renewal, with many people in attendance and a lot of folks relaxing outdoors with their families. Ricardo's soundscape for Legion Park had a lot of different chapters to it, drawing on the diversity of the neighborhood. Among the highlights of the many audio surprises was a whistle blowing that kept everybody on their toes. The park had a bit more ambient light than we had hoped for and was certainly less spooky than Arch Creek, but the images in the tree canopy were... well, definitely elusive.

Thank you to all who came out to support the project. A special thanks to Park Manager, Coach Kim Sands and the staff at Legion Memorial Park.

Many people asked if they can see the films on screens at some point, and the answer is yes. At the culminating exhibition at Diaspora Vibe Gallery, November 18-25, we will be screening the films on screens and in video monitors, and exhibiting the 16mm filmstrips in light-boxes.

As always, thank you to my amazing crew: Alejandro Contreras, Loriel Beltrán, Raúl Garcia, Alain Almeida from TCB Transfer. We will be flickering once again on August 14 at Sewell Park, on 17th Avenue and NW South River Drive, a much darker and more dense location, which will make for more contrast and visibility.

Photos by Luis Olazabal, Blue Jazz Photo.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Elusive Landscape: Legion Memorial Park

The second installment of Elusive Landscape will take place on Saturday, July 17 from 8-10PM at Legion Memorial Park, 6630 Biscayne Boulevard in Miami. Seven original hand-crafted 16mm films, all of them created especially for this location, and some of them filmed in the park itself, will be projected into the giant oak trees and surrounding landscape. The projections create magical 3-D effects that viewers can immerse themselves in, certainly a new and unusual way to spend a summer's eve in Miami. As always, my home-made all-natural, non-toxic insect repellent will be freely available.

Sprawling eastward from Biscayne Boulevard, Legion Memorial Park transitions you from the bustling hustle of the MiMo business district and the rooster-roaming back streets of Little Haiti to a serene bayside paradise in seconds. This gorgeous gem of urban park space is located on Biscayne Boulevard and NE 66th Street. To enter the park, head East on NE 64th Street and turn left on NE 7th Avenue, which leads you directly to an ample parking lot for park visitors.

For sports enthusiasts and lovers of the outdoors, Legion Memorial Park is like a tall drink of water on a hot summer's day, right smack in the middle of the urban vapor. Here you can enjoy a game of tennis or soccer with a breathtaking view of the sparkling Bay, or shoot some hoop under the shade of grand Florida Oaks. Need to launch your kayak or canoe? The park has that covered as well. Triathletes can strengthen their swimming skills by swimming out to Legion Picnic Island, which creates a lovely visual point in the blue horizon, as does the smaller, protected sanctuary of Bird Key, only a little to the north. Skateboarding, soccer, tennis, or just plain-old dog-walking are highly favored here thanks to the shady trees, open space and cooling breezes from the Bay.

For kids, the park offers after-school programs, summer and winter camps, teacher planning days, indoor games and activities such as Cheerleading, Table Tennis, Basketball, Football, Soccer, Softball, and Golf, all managed lovingly by the very cool Park Manager, Coach Kim Sands, a seasoned tennis pro with a 10-year career and No. 46 world ranking (No. 29 in doubles) who played Wimbledon and studied with the legendary Arthur Ashe right here in magic Miami. Coach Sands serves as an amazing role model for some 100 kids in the summer camp, stressing the benefits of fitness and outdoor living, as well as responsibility and team spirit, all with the patience of a saint and a cutting-edge sense of humor.

Legion Memorial Park was founded in 1966 when the City of Miami bought 37 acres of land from American Legion Post 29, on which stood the remains of a 12-bedroom, two-story mansion, once owned by Armour Foods heir William Ogden. The stately coral-façade mansion, designed by architect George L. Pfeiffer, was constructed in the 1910's. Its colorful history includes a stint as an illegal casino in the 1930's, but it now serves as the park's community center, housing a library/tutoring room, computer room, activities area, offices and two large meeting rooms. Neighborhood groups meet here regularly, as room rentals are generally affordable. For more information about the Park's programs and services, call 305-758-9027.

Photography by Dinorah de Jesús Rodriguez