Biidaaban | Image source: imaginative.org
Futurist artists and writers regularly depict post-apocalyptic worlds as terrifying but Biidaaban First Light calls our attention to the utopic flowering within dystopia, and in so doing provides us with a metaphor for this moment in time.
Many futurists never consider, as they build dystopic futures (or presents), that Indigenous peoples on Turtle Island have already experienced an apocalypse. In Anishinaabemowin, Biidaaban means “first light of dawn” suggesting that we are coming to the end of a dark age and surrounding us there is plenty of haunting beauty to nurture, cultivate and grow, if only we have the eyes to see it.
Amidst the decay of skyscrapers, subways and streets Biidaaban’s artists have imagined plants reclaiming their territory, canoes navigating through train tunnels and families living in the wilderness of rooftops under a clear panorama of stars that, in our times, are present but never seen in Toronto’s sky.
The crisp and highly detailed images are haunting yet compelling in their optimism that Mother Earth eventually reclaims all human-made creations, regardless of the value we assign them. Amid death and decay we are reminded that we are all equal on the cosmic playing field and that land will always confront our denial of interconnection and interdependence across space and time.
The prayers accompanying the visuals in Wendat, Kenien’keha:ka and Anishinabe languages assert that the words, sounds, songs and stories informed by and honouring this land are in perfect harmony with reemergence and reclamation.
Directed by Lisa Jackson, is Biidaaban provocative, mesmerizing, heart-engaging VR experience currently presented by ImagineNative.