Collection Title: Hemispheric Institute featured interviews
Title: Interview with Jesusa Rodríguez
Alternate Title: Jesusa Rodríguez
Alternate Title: On art and activism : Plantón 2006 (Mexico)
Alternate Title: Plantón 2006 (Mexico)
Date: 2010 Aug
Location: Recorded at the San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, México, in August 2010.
Work Type: Interview.
Jesusa Rodríguez, interviewee ; Diana Taylor, interviewer.
Run-time (hh:mm:ss): 00:23:56
Language: In Spanish.
Synopsis: Interview with Jesusa Rodríguez, conducted by Diana Taylor, founding director of the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics. In this interview, Jesusa Rodríguez talks about the relationship between her experience in theater and cabaret, and her political commitment as an activist. She considers that cabaret provides improvisation as a training tool to exercise negotiation and risk. Also, the immediate response of the audience transforms the artist into a medium that conveys what the public feels and thinks; in this sense, cabaret is a space both to become aware of the current political situation and to foresee what could be upcoming, which engenders a more participative audience. Jesusa Rodríguez and her Resistencia Creativa movement organized a massive ‘plantón’ (sit-in) in Mexico City’s Zócalo (main square) to protest against the controversial results of the Presidential Elections in 2006. She brought together different groups and art expressions from a wide range of Mexican citizens and collaborators, and they presented different spectacles every day during this 40-days sit-in. This demonstration was an example of the art’s role in the struggle for a country’s transformation as well as an act of generosity and solidarity. Based on her ‘artivist’ experiences, Jesusa Rodríguez asks: how art and resistance transform and energize the people little by little every day?Jesusa Rodríguez is Mexico’s most influential cabaret and political performance artist, and recipient of an Obie Award. Often referred to as a chameleon, Rodríguez moves seemingly effortlessly and with vigor across the spectrum of cultural forms, styles, and tones. Her work challenges traditional classification, crossing with ease generic boundaries: from elite to popular to mass; from Greek tragedy to cabaret; from pre-Columbian indigenous to opera; from revue, sketch and carpa, to performative acts within political projects. She ran the famous El Hábito in Mexico City with her partner, Liliana Felipe, where they staged hundreds of shows over the course of fifteen years. Most recently, she heads up the Resistencia Creativa movement in Mexico, whose key strategy is using ‘massive cabaret’ as a tool for political action.
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