Exhibition: ECC Venice Biennale, 2021

Location: Palazzo Mora, Venice, Italy

Year: 2021

Anthology of the Now and Blueprint of the Future.

Responding to the world’s collective year of isolation and distance, a concept is born for a communal project to create an anthology of images which tell a story that is at once personal and intimate while resonating with the power of a collective experience.  TimeStills begins as an investigation into the meaning of time and inhabitation as lived by the individual and evolves into the documentation and merging of a global narrative. The medium of cyanotype is used to create and assemble photograms of multiple individual recordings generating a composite visual diary.

The context of this exercise is the temporal monotony created by the loss of routines and social rituals during the pandemic that for many articulated the disappearance of time. The resulting void has become an undifferentiated experience where the personal marking of time have been lost. This project challenges us to find richness in the details of the familiar, create meaning out of the everyday, recognize the multiplicity of our experiences and generate a catalog of time recordings. 

Our team prepared and mailed out hundreds of envelopes to participants containing watercolor paper treated with a light sensitive emulsion. These kits contain instructions to create 15 cm x 15 cm cyanotypes from objects that are meaningful or significant to each individual in the marking of time during the pandemic. These brief moments out of a day are captured on paper as abstract recordings from each perspective around the world and the process of going outdoors, finding sunlight, assembling, waiting, washing and drying mark this moment in the collective experience. Finished photograms were returned by mail and marked with the location of the recording, the time of day and the duration of the exposure. We continue to receive daily requests to participate and will continue to add to the anthology throughout the duration of the ECC Venice Biennale. 

“TimeStills” plays off the whimsical quality of the medium, the action of collecting and to the power of indexical signs. The creation of a cyanotype speaks to the childlike wonder and delight at the appearance of an image created on paper with simple objects placed under the sun. The accumulation of cyanotypes becomes the focus of the installation with its recognizable Prussian blue hues and the ghosted silhouettes of objects and shadows. The project invites its participants to step out of their homes into the outdoors and find sunlight, a simple action which can evolve into a ritual.

We believe this to be the first step of a long term project that merges the collective experiences of our global community into a visually poetic anthology of art and architecture.


The project is ongoing and will collect cyanotypes throughout the exhibit time. If interested in participating or learning more, please visit: timestills.design