Lisa Jackson, Unearthed (film still), 2019. © Lisa Jackson, Photo: Yuula Benivolski.
Starting at dusk this Saturday (October 5) and into the next morning, galleries, studios and public spaces across the GTA will feature installations and experiences that showcase the vibrancy of Toronto’s local arts scene at Nuit Blanche Toronto 2019 – an all night art event. For this week’s Art Pick, we’re featuring AGO’s Nuit Blanche exhibit, Unearthed, a sparse and visually-striking film by award-winning Anishinaabe filmmaker and artist Lisa Jackson.
Visitors to the AGO’s Walker Court will experience the film, a single uninterrupted shot featuring a visceral performance by Vuntut Gwich’in artist Jeneen Frei Njootli. With the screen placed in the centre of the space and surrounded by a haunting soundscape by Laura Ortman and Raven Chacon, audience members will be able to approach a woman urgently digging into the earth. Over eight minutes, a rainstorm builds and subsides as she pursues her task, eventually finding a quiet peace. Unearthed is a component of Jackson’s installation Transmissions, a three-part 6000 square-foot multimedia work exploring the connections between land, language and culture, which recently premiered in downtown Vancouver and is a sister project to her award-winning NFB virtual reality work Biidaaban: First Light.
Jackson’s spoke to the Georgia Straight about the connections between her work and the idea of Indigenous Futurism, in which Indigenous worldviews are projected into a possible future. “You feel out of time and space,” says Jackson, who wants to challenge western society’s linear notions of minutes and hours. “I want the audience to have a physical response and an emotional response. To me, that gets closer to the Indigenous understanding. Because the Eurocentric way is more rational, where the intellectual is put ahead of everything else.”
Unearthed will be on view in Walker Court for the duration of Nuit Blanche, Saturday, October 5, from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Admission is free and all Nuit Blanche visitors can also spend the evening exploring the Collection works on view on Level 1.