Modest Livelihood: How to butcher a moose

One of the things I enjoy most about my freelance writing is that I follow threads of thought. They often tie into something larger that I am working on.This past week, I went to the AGO to interview artists Brian Jungen and Duane Linklater about their silent film, Modest Livelihood. I've wanted to see this since I first heard about it playing in Banff.modest-livelihood-AGOI previewed the film in a large gallery space at the Art Gallery of Ontario, where it will show starting today until June 2014.Then I talked to Brian and Duane and asked them about the process of making the film.The interview will appear in The Believer Magazine. More on that later.The film follows the two artists on a moose hunt. Towards the end they shoot a moose and field dress it. I struggled to watch the first few cuts into the hide, but it's filmed with too much respect to be shocking. I mentioned this to Brian, who said, "My family thought we did a good job." We laughed. That's really all there is.As I watched, I started to appreciate the hard work involved in butchering. They stripped the hide by cutting through the fatty layer that lies over the muscle. It came off the animal in one elegant piece. I understood that is what it means to eat.Stills from Brian Jungen and Duane Linklater’s Modest Livelihood (2012), Super 16mm film transferred to Blu-ray, 50 minutes, courtesy the artists, Walter Phillips Gallery, The Banff Centre, and Catriona Jeffries Gallery, Vancouver.