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“The piece is looking at how we organize our society… it’s a commentary on what the original languages of the land are… and I thought that it would have the greatest impact to actually highlight the languages that have been spoken [in Toronto] for thousands of years”
Lisa Jackson, Author, in CKLB Radio interview
Created by Anishinaabe artist Lisa Jackson, Biidaaban: First Light is a work of Indigenous futurism that explores how Indigenous languages can provide a framework for understanding the user’s place in the world and open up a space for new imaginings of the future. The experience takes place in future Toronto, once known as Tkaronto, that has been reclaimed by nature. The town square has flooded, buildings and subways have merged with local flora, and Indigenous languages and knowledge are thriving in a radically different Tkaronto. As users move through the space, they hear Indigenous languages traditionally spoken in the region. Users engage with written text of the Wendat (Huron), Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) and Anishinaabe (Ojibway) through gaze-based interactions and gain insight into the complex thought systems of this land’s First Peoples.
Biidaaban: First Light illuminates how Indigenous languages can provide a framework for understanding our place in a reconciled version of Canada’s largest urban environment. The importance of language for understanding Indigenous perspectives is one of the main themes of the piece. As Indigenous languages risk disappearing, we risk losing what they have to teach us.