Life, off-the-grid: Film and book released

Submitted Article

Tuesday, November 25 2014

Gabriolan Phillip Vannini has released a new book and film chronicling three years of his research into the world of off-grid living.  

From June 2011 to June 2013 Vannini, a professor in communication and culture, and Canada Research Chair in Public Ethnography, travelled together with Vancouver-based photographer and videographer Jonathan Taggart to all of Canada’s provinces and territories to find and document off-gridders as they went about their everyday life in their homes.

Vannini will be launching his book Off the Grid: Re-Assembling Domestic Life and showing the full-length documentary film that he produced and Taggart directed, right here on Gabriola at the Haven’s Phoenix Auditorium on Dec. 7, at 7:00 p.m. “We will be taking the documentary across the world in 2015 to several film festivals,” Vannini said, “but I want to start right here at home and give my fellow islanders the very first sneak peek.”

Vannini and Taggart accumulated over 65,000 miles of travel and managed to find 200 off-gridders and visit about 100 homes. The film documents a few of their visits and travels. “At times we lived with off-gridders for a short period of time,” Vannini explains. “Sometimes we followed them around as they hunted, fished, harvested, collected wood and built their homes, and at times we too practiced living in off-grid homes and cabins.” The film and book chronicle in depth the experiences, challenges, inventions, aspirations and technologies typical of the off-grid lifestyle. 

Off grid refers to a home or community disconnected from the electric and natural gas infrastructure. But as it goes, people who live in off-grid homes are also self-reliant for other vital resources, such as water and food. Vannini finds that “to live off-grid, therefore, means to radically re-invent daily life in a dramatically innovative but also quite traditional way, and that reinvention is something we can all learn a great deal about.”