Hope and Prey
2004, 22 minutes, 3 channel video installation   

When we speak of hunting it’s important to remember the two parties involved, the hunter and the hunted; both are running for their lives. Hope and Prey features stunning wildlife cinematography of this epic eternal truth. 3 side-by-side reels play a panoramic view mimicking that of the wide natural landscape that invites the approach of any predator from anywhere. The installation reminds us of the fact that predators have eyes on the front of the head, while prey have eyes on the sides; the audience here definitely has to keep an eye out for danger. Black-and-white high-contrast recomposition transforms the adrenal-pumping, dramatic and occasionally brutal cinematography while a hyper-dynamic score by Portland’s infamous underground composer, Daniel Menche, adds a haunting human influence to the riveting experience.

score by Daniel Menche
cinematography by Bob Landis and Vanessa Renwick
edit by Vanessa Renwick
score available on Soleilmoon and daniel.menche.bandcamp.com

Hope and Prey
by Halliday Dresser
28 July 2006

Two things are always here. Snow and leafless trees. Black and white. Running toward and running away from. Nothing else is certain.

Endless white field beneath your feet, hooves, paws, and endless white sky around you. Your wings push against it and relax, push against it and relax.

Vanessa's film is not about death. It is about life. It is almost obsessed with life, life in its humor, elegance and almost unimaginable cruelty. Life reduced to its grim skeleton: running toward and running away from. That is all we have ever done, will ever do. Very quickly we forget what it is we are running toward, what we are running away from. All we know is to run. That, and white, etched with black. 

And then, there is a moment, a singularity, when black becomes white, white becomes black. From this there is no return. 

Vanessa's film is also not explained by its ending, brief flash of red passing from mouth to mouth in this universe of black and white. It is a process, a process you must go through. I have watched it many times, over and over again, and I cannot turn the volume up loud enough, or get the image large enough. I want to crack my sternum like a lobster tail and pour the pure black, the white, the sound directly into my chest, a void of black and white and sound to fill me up forever. 

And now, my children, let us become obsessed with life. It is a process we must go through, are going through, no choosing. We do not understand the beginning, we do not understand the end; most of all, we do not understand the unbearable pain in our legs, the aching cold, the inexorable fatigue in our wings. 

May we never see the beauty of our own helpless movements. 

From this, there is no return.