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Vanessa Renwick: Patriot Act
April 10–June 13, 2004, Hauser Memorial Library

Vanessa Renwick's Patriot Act

Patriot Act is Vanessa Renwick's newest work, an impassioned and sublime installation that explores our country's shifting personal and constitutional liberties. Renwick's piece consists of neon words installed in the library cases. The words emanate a meditative, ethereal glow and shift in and out of legibility depending upon one's perspective. Renwick's work foregrounds critical discourse concerning our access to and personal control over information and experience. In Patriot Act, Vanessa specifically references the Rights of Library Users:

The Library Bill of Rights affirms the ethical imperative to provide unrestricted access to information and to guard against impediments to open inquiry. Article IV states: "Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgement of free expression and free access to ideas." When users recognize or fear that their privacy or confidentiality is compromised, true freedom of inquiry no longer exists. Adopted June 19, 2002, by the ALA. Council.

Exhibition curator: Stephanie Snyder, director, Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery

Vanessa Renwick's Patriot Act


Renwick's installation opens Saturday, April 10, 2004, with a reception in the Hauser library lobby, 8 p.m.


Renwick discusses her recent work, followed by "Rising Up and Rising Down" author William T. Vollmann reading from his story "The Red X" which is based on events in Renwick's artistic life.

Saturday May 1, 2004, 4 p.m. in the US Bank Room of Portland's Central Library, 801 SW 10th at Taylor, on the first floor.

Vollmann's reading is followed by a 6 p.m. book signing at Reading Frenzy, 921 SW Oak.


My work reflects an interest in place—relationships between bodies and landscapes—and all sorts of borders. Working in experimental and documentary forms, I produce films, videos, and installations that explore the possibility of poetry in contemporary society, while sometimes providing a vicious, satirical commentary on that society. Currently I am making a 16mm experimental documentary essay entitled Critter, about the reintroduction of gray wolves into the modern West. My focus is on the battles that humans play out over the management of the wolf, the most managed animal in the West, and the political borders that the wolves unknowingly cross.


Vanessa Renwick is a Portland-based film, video, and installation artist. She has completed projects and screened her work widely at national and international venues such as the NY Underground Film Festival, the Andy Warhol Museum, the Venice International Film Festival, the Soap Factory, and The Kitchen. Also a curator, Renwick has organized numerous screenings and taken her work on the road, most recently with artist Bill Daniel. Currently Renwick and Daniel are curating Swap Meet—a travelling exhibition that brings two groups of artists (one from San Francisco and one from Portland) together for a two-city exchange of visual arts, music, and film. In the artists' words, Swap Meet is "an intrepid expedition to establish a trading route along Interstate 5. This 625-mile cultural exchange is a gathering of twenty artists, old friends and new friends, in a many-moded narrative that will collectively display contrasts and commonalities between these neighboring west coast art communities." For information about Renwick's projects visit

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