Ruben J. Davila (he/him) is a Chicano filmmaker and visual artist based in Chicago, Illinois.

Davila’s visual art practice collages archival footage from a vast swath of analog/digital sources into meditative and cerebral images which evoke Latin American spiritualism and iconography. His work has been showcased in contemporary art exhibitions and as live visuals accompanying music and performance art.  

Davila’s filmmaking practice captures narratives of the American working class, immigrant communities, and the dialogues of the marginalized. His short-form work aims to explore the intersection of identity and alienation of communities living precariously in the American Midwest.  

  • Ten Steps to Drowning
Collaboration with poet Madeline McConico & the Poetry Off the Page curatorial project. The installation is a visual response to McConico’s poem “Ten Steps to Drowning”; featuring the author and her contemporaries in ten meditative motion-image tableaus.

Five-Channel Video Installation
Poem by: Madeline McConico
Film by: Ruben J. Davila

World’s Fair
First assembled in 2019 and reprised in 2023, “World’s Fair” is the interplay between footage of burlesque dancer Sally Rand’s famous ostrich-dance and footage of the development and construction of American skyscrapers during the 1970’s.

  • 2019 - 2023
  • Found-Footage Assemblage
  • Experimental Short Film
  • Film by: Ruben J. Davila
  • Music by: Blear Moon
  • Runtime: 3:47

Sign of Cipactli: Part I & II
Two chapters from an ongoing series which loosely adapts the myth of the Cipactli, a ferocious many-mouthed crocodile, whose dismembered body formed the thirteen realms of the world.

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  • February 2023 - April 2023
  • Elastic Arts Visual Gallery 
  •     & Chicago Art Deparment
  • Three-Channel Video Installation
  • Found-Footage Assemblage
  • Runtime: 5:26

Queer Futurities - The Cyborg Re-engineered
A survey of six contemporary trans and gender nonconforming artists whose practice invokes the cyborg to explore queered notions of gender, embodiment, and identity in a culture mediated by technologies.

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    March 9, 2023 - April 21, 2023 
    The Hokin, Chicago IL
  • Video Documentation of Art Exhibition
  • Curated by: Sheridyn Villarreal
  • Documentation by: Ruben J. Davila
  • Music by: Aleida Zapata
  • Runtime: 3:33

A narrative short-film centered around a small-town heist and the theft of an immigrant communities money-transfers. As the Covid-19 pandemic nears; the once desperate theif grapples with the reverberations of his actions as a greater threat looms over his community.  

    Written & Directed: Ruben J. Davila
  • Assistant Director: Rene Vessi
  • Cinematography: Pedro Torres Leon
  • First AC: Brandon Hinsley
  • Sound Design: Dominic Marino
  • Original Score by: 
  • Dominic Marino & Justin Eberhardt
  • Runtime: 15:04

Isn’t It Strange (HAM SIDE A)
Live visuals commissioned for the album release event of Isn’t It Strange’s “Ham, Side A” - Debuted live at Beat Kitchen.

    Listen Here
  • March 11, 2023
  • Beat Kitchen, Chicago IL
  • Generated via Stable Diffusion
  • Graphics & Compositing by: Ruben J. Davila