Timeslips (2019)

single channel HD (1920*1080px) video, stereo 2-channel audio; looping installation or single screening, duration 39'35"

Commissioned by the Haus der Kulturen der Welt and the Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Berlin as part of the Deutschlandsjahr project Mississippi. An Anthropocene River for presentation as part of Field Station 4, Carbondale IL and environs, USA. The work was premiered as part of the exhibit Confluence Ecologies SIU Museum Carbondale [11 October-30 November 2019]

Jay Alan Yim: producer, screenwriter, and composer/sound designer; main concept development & research; second unit camerawork

Marlena Novak: producer and director; principal videographer, video editor, motion graphics/video processing; concept development; voiceover

Joslyn Willauer: co-producer; motion graphics/video processing; concept development

Our contribution is a speculative fiction moving-image installation; Timeslips creates a poetic frame for an audience to ponder the state of mind of an interplanetary agronomist as a mechanism to open up contemplation of the ethics of terraforming and biosphere transformation on planetary scales. The rotational period of Mars (24:39:35) is slightly longer than that of Earth (24:00:00). In Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy the solution to that difference is a programmed pause between 00:00 midnight and 00:01, called the Timeslip—a time outside of chronometric time, and a suspension of the relentless hegemony of the clock that becomes an opportunity for reflection, introspection, and mindfulness. Timeslips is not an advertisement for escapism: we hope the video installation will plant seeds in the consciousness of our audience that might grow into a more mindful societal discussion of what forms of geoengineering could be less disruptive to others who live on Earth, and could be tempered or reversed if it turns out that the cure is worse than the disease.


The exhibition focused on the political ecology of rural and riverine environments in the Confluence area where the Ohio and the Mississippi meet. Mixing art, science, and cultural research, and engaging with both humans and non-humans, the works compose a regional mosaic highlighting multiple facets of the contemporary predicament. At stake throughout the show are urgent needs for social, cultural and technological change in an era when human populations exert tremendous powers, capable of altering the biosphere and disrupting the life-sustaining cycles of the earth system.

The HKW program included a river journey on voyageur canoes, stopping at five Field Stations scattered up and down the Mississippi or along its endless tributaries. At each Field Station, events were organized to greet the travelers and display the local research to the general public. At Field Station 4 in Carbondale, activities included: the opening of the museum exhibition, Confluence Ecologies; the closing of a parallel show at Carbondale Community Arts, Seasonal Pulse; a Walk About It tour of Ferne Clyffe State Park guided by two geologists; a panel discussion on alternative ecologies and environmental justice; an Asian Carp dinner; and a bus tour to the Cache River Valley and Fort Defiance State Park, at the confluence of the two great rivers, with a performance and an art installation on the water.