Lori Goldston : PROJECTS

Charismatic Megafauna


A new work for film and live music by Vanessa Renwick and Lori Goldston

June 13, 2012:
Northwest Film Forum, Seattle

May 2012:
Experimental Film Festival, Portland, Oregon;
Other Cinema, San Francisco and co-sponsored by the Exploratorium
October 2011:
Good Shepherd Center Chapel, Seattle

Radical documentary film maker Vanessa Renwick places 16mm film footage from her own teenage life in Chicago with a wolf dog, with unsettling video documentation shot by biologists reintroducing wolves into the western USA in the late 90’s. We watch the wolf dog scavenging in the gutters of Chicago, and we watch humans performing the act known perversely as “wildlife management” on wolves.

Seattle composer/cellist Lori Goldston performs an original score with the film, accompanied by an ensemble of formidable iconoclasts.

Charismatic Megafauna was first screened at the Good Shepherd Center Chapel in Seattle on October 14, 2011 with its original live score, performed by composer Lori Goldston on cello, vocalist Jessika Kenney, electric guitarist Dylan Carlson and percussion/horn player Greg Campbell.

“The speed of cinema film is 24 frames per second. God knows how many frames per second flicker past in our daily perception. But it is as if, at the brief moments I’m talking about, suddenly and disconcertingly we see between two frames. We come upon a part of the visible which wasn’t destined for us. Perhaps it was destined for night birds, reindeer, ferrets, eels, whales…

“Our customary visible order is not the only one and it coexists with other orders. Stories of fairies, sprites, ogres were a human attempt to come to terms with this coexistence. Hunters are continually aware of it and so can read signs we do not see. Children feel it intuitively, because they have the habit of hiding behind things. There they discover the interstices between different sets of the visible.

“Dogs, with their running legs, sharp noses and developed memory for sounds, are the natural frontier experts of these interstices. Their eyes, whose message often confuses us for its urgent and mute, are attuned both to the human order and to other visible orders. Perhaps this is why, on so many occasion and for different reasons, we train dogs as guides.”

— John Berger, The Shape of the Pocket

“It is 50 minutes long and consists of footage that was shot by biologists during the wolf capture (in Canada) and reintroduction in to the USA in the mid 90’s. There also is 16mm footage that I shot when I lived in Chicago in the early 80’s with a wolfdog.

“This piece gives you a behind the scenes look at the practice known as ‘Wildlife Management.’

“I have been making a big piece on the wolf reintroduction for 12 years now, and this is the third wolf related video installation or movie I have made out of the subject matter, along the way to completing the huge flick, The Land Piranhas. This is the first piece that I included humans in, and although I am all for the wolf reintroduction, watching all the manipulation and processing that we humans are doing to these animals makes me feel a bit like, ALIEN INVASION!!!!!

“Also, the footage of my wolfdog included in this piece …why do people have wolfdogs? … so out of place in the landscape. The landscape that we manage to death…

“There are no words spoken in this film.
It is accompanied LIVE! by the formidable musicians Lori Goldston, Dylan Carlson, Greg Campbell and Jessika Kenney. There is a small snippet of it here, as well as more info on the musicians: PLAZM: Transformation Time with Vanessa Renwick”

— Vanessa Renwick



Jessika Kenney

Jessika Kenney is a Northwest based vocalist and composer known for a haunting sense of timbre and ornamentation, dedication to vocal traditions, particularly of Javanese and Iranian classical forms, and a wide range of collaborations since the mid-90s.


Dylan Carlson

Guitarist Dylan Carlson is the founder of the band Earth.


Greg Campbell

Photo © Daniel Sheehan / EyeShotJazz.com

Greg Campbell plays drums, percussion, and French horn in styles ranging from mainstream jazz to free jazz to classical to Afro-pop. He has worked with Bill Smith, Stuart Dempster, Hadley Caliman, Matana Roberts, the Tom Baker Quartet, Wayne Horvitz, Stuart Dempster, the Young Composers Collective, the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, Seattle EXperimental Opera, and the Seattle Percussion Collective, and co-leads the traditional Ghanaian drumming group Anokye Agofomma. He is a former student of Dave Holland, Bob Moses, Tom Collier, and Michael Crusoe.


Vanessa Renwick

Vanessa Renwick: An artist by nature, not by stress of research. She puts scholars to rout by solving through Nature’s teaching problems that have fretted their trained minds. Working in experimental and poetic documentary forms, her iconoclastic work reflects an interest in place, relationships between bodies and landscapes, and all sorts of borders. She is a naturalist, born, not made : a true barefoot, cinematic rabblerouser, of grand physique, calm pulse and a magnetism that demands the most profound attention.


program runs 55 minutes
screens with Vanessa Renwick’s Mighty Tacoma