• Mathew Borrett

Biidaaban: First Light

Lisa Jackson with Mathew Borrett, Jam3 and the National Film Board of Canada

June 10—July 7, 2019

Floor 4

Toronto’s Nathan Phillips Square is flooded. Its infrastructure has merged with the local fauna; mature trees grow through cracks in the sidewalks and vines cover south-facing walls. People commute via canoe and grow vegetables on skyscraper roofs. Urban life is thriving.

Biidaaban: First Light is an interactive virtual reality experience that allows users to move through familiar spaces overgrown by vegetation while being immersed in the original languages of Tkaronto. Indigenous languages embody complex worldviews that shape peoples’ relationships with each other and the world around us. In conjunction with Mark Dion’s The Life of a Dead Treean exhibition that draws attention to our role in caring for Ontario’s ecosystems—Biidaaban: First Light offers a perspective rooted in Indigenous futurism, asking users to reconsider their relationship to the land, their place in history, and their role in a possible future. Through gaze-based interactions, users engage with the written text of the Wendat, Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) and Anishinaabe (Ojibway) and gain insight into the complex thought systems of this land and how we exist in the world.


Lisa Jackson (Anishinaabe) is one of Canada’s most celebrated contemporary artists working in film and virtual reality. For Biidaaban: First Light, Jackson joined forces with 3D artist Mathew Borrett to create a future for Canada’s largest urban centre from an Indigenous female perspective.

This program is presented in partnership with the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective (ACC/CCA), and supported by the National Film Board of Canada (NFB).

First-come first-serve
Biidaaban: First Light is available on a first come, first served basis. When you arrive on-site, please speak with the staff at the welcome desk for an update on wait-times. The experience takes approximately 8 minutes to view in its entirety, and we have one headset available. We recommend arriving at least 3 hours before the museum closes for your best chance to view the experience.

Lisa Jackson and Mathew Borrett in Conversation
June 12, 7pm

Image courtesy of Mathew Borrett.