Modest Livelihood, 2012
super 16mm film, transferred to Blu-ray
50 minutes, silent
Courtesy of Catriona Jeffries and the artist
In 2012, artist Brian Jungen collaborated on a silent film with fellow artist Duane Linklater. Shot on a Super 16mm camera with the assistance of one professional cameraperson, the film follows the two artists as they embark on a series of moose-hunting trips.
Shot primarily in the Peace Country of the DaneZaa territories in northern British Columbia, the film shows the two artists travelling at first by all-terrain vehicle, before going on foot. The duo is also joined by Jungen’s uncle, Elder Jack Askoty, who shares with them knowledge and the history of the land as they continue looking for moose. Following their journey, the film features the region’s natural landscapes alongside areas that have been heavily impacted by industrialization.
The silent format of the film amplifies the visible absence of the animal, and the complexity of Indigenous peoples’ relationship with Canada. Through the presence of Jungen, Linklater, and Elder Askty in the landscape, the film blurs the distinction between documentary and art and resists the disappearance of traditional knowledge and the constant re-definition of Indigenous land by state-supported industries.