Ecosystemic Time

In biology an ecosystem is a community of living organisms in conjunction with the nonliving components of their environment, interacting as a system[1].  By using these natural systems as a model for psychological analysis, specifically community based practices which specialize in individuals relationships within their communities and outside power structures, the Ecological Systems Theory ( also referred to as the Bioecological model of human development) emerges. In 1979, American psychologist Urie Bronfenbrenner developed an “evolving theoretical system for the scientific study of human development over time. In the bioecological model, development is defined as the phenomenon of continuity and change in the biopsychological characteristics of human beings, both as individuals and as groups. The phenomenon extends over the life course, across successive generations, and through historical time, both past and future.[2] . 

The chronosphere is concerned with time structures, this includes large scale socio-historical events (the Civil Rights Movement)  as well as smaller scale normative (having a first kiss) and non-normative (winning the lottery) life experiences.  These large scale chronological events create overarching thematic experiences that affect human psychological development across a life space as well as the conception of these expanses of time as they relate to eachother. I argue that an event that is invading contemporary consciousness through the chronosphere is climate change and through that an alternative mode of experiencing time is emerging.

In ecology, time is traditionally considered a niche dimension.  Within a healthy ecosystem organisms of competing species often segregate to minimize overlap in the use of other resources. Ecosystemic time reveals an interdependence and overlapping of life cycles, both of normative time cycles and non-normative chaotic additions. Ecosystemic time emerges when instead of segregating, organisms and their unique systems overlap.

The black background is a defaulted convention of video editing programs. Emptiness is a space of construction and imagination. Emptiness cruises past the negative philosophical connotations of the void, in the context of death. In ecosystems death does not mean finality, but rather the transfer of energy. Time indicates the cycle. The emptiness encourages the audience to transfer their own energy into visceral imagery. By layering emptiness with digitized layers (text, images, video, sound), a complex interaction between the temporality of the population on screen and projections of the audience occurs. The employment of emptiness and its population allows for projection that is multiple and unique to the audience. What images are created in the mind of those looking at an empty screen with images and text--what are images and text, viedo?

What can be another word for how these are interacting with eachother?  are variable to the systems in which the viewer is coming from.

These systems, made up of emotional events ranging from childhood into adulthood, mixe3d with larger scale chronospheric events, are alchemic.

This right timing is seen in a branch of ecological study called Phenology, or the study of the timing of the biological events in plants and animals such as flowering, leafing, hibernation, reproduction, and migration. [3] As defined previously, time is a niche but essential element of an ecosystem. In order for biotic (living) and abiotic (non- living) members of an ecosystem to thrive there needs to be a pacing of biological functions in order to ensure that resources are distributed among the community. In Paul Chan’s essay, A Time Apart, he mediates two distinctions of time: Chronos and Kairos. I wish to look at his definitions of Kairos and its role in ecosystemic time. He looks to the Corpus Hippocraticum for his definition. Kairos is defined as “a temporal disruption that dispenses in uniformity” or “right timing”. Kairos is when “time holds the most potential for change”.[4] Phenology is made up entirely of Kairos. Karios sees time as Time is a resource used for growth, maintenance and continuity. Alemnation. There is no timeline for spring, flowers only bloom when the time is right. Ecologically, other factors such as temperature and soil quality emerge but all of this happens within Kairos . Ecosystemic time cycles are symbiotic happenings ripe with an emergent sense of enmeshing with the moment.

Nam June Paik made the claim that video is time[5]. Video has the capacity to extend, warp and procreate temporal landscapes. Video acts as a “unique means to disrupt dominant conventionalities of time, notably acceleration and temporal linearity”[6]. This condition makes video the essential medium for the aesthetic exploration of Ecosystemic time. Video allows freedom “from the habit of viewing objects as we see them"[7], which is within the bounds of chronological, anthropocentric experiences.

The Ecosystemic time model, which is dependant on the meshing of biotic and abiotic relationships, becomes an “an aesthetic strategy that could problematize the opticality of the image”[8]. Ecosystemic time can also be experienced as an exploded present which video becomes conduit. Video includes “the simultaneous reception and projection of an image; and the human psyche”[9] processing those images. The aesthetic application of ecosystemic time is reliant on those factors as well. The interaction between the reception, projection and cognition warps time but overloads it with meaning, filling it until it overflows into the next time sequence, thus expanding it.

 In Video: The Aesthetics of Narcissism, Krauss shows video’s capability of “recording and transmitting at the same time producing instant feedback”. These feedback loops are not only present in video but in ecology as well. A feedback loop “can enhance or buffer changes that occur in a system”[10] wherein “the output of a system amplifies the system (positive feedback) or inhibits the system (negative feedback)”[11]. On an Ecosystemic level, feedback loops help systems achieve homeostasis by regulating multiple factors to keep a flow of resources, matter and energy active. If we examine time’s role in these loops, both in video and in ecosystems, it acts as “present time which is completely severed from a sense of its own past”[12]. By liberating the present from the past we can begin to conceptualize an ecosystemic sense of time where there is a flow of thought that is dependent on a combination of  interacting variables at a specific charged moment in time.

Time is a determinant factor of human experience. In the Production of Space, Henri Lefebvre hypothesizes that ”time becomes an isolable and isolated category, fragmented for the sake of profit, recorded exclusively on measuring instruments”[13]. Time’s exploitation debases its essential role as a precious resource. Ecosystemic time liberates itself from capitalistic means and returns to networks of the present. Looking to developmental psychology and ecology as theoretical bases, Ecosystemic time acts as a conceptual tool to charge the present moment with importance and facilitate complex cognition by making complex connections within immediate space/time cycles. Ecosystemic time emerges as a loaded and sensorial stretch of symbiotic time.

[1] Biology-Online Dictionary | Biology-Online Dictionary. (2019). Ecosystem. [online] Available at: [Accessed 16 Dec. 2019].

[2] Bronfenbrenner, Urie & Morris P.A.; 200y6; “The Bioecological Model of Human Development”; Handbook of Child Psychology (pp.793-828).

[3] Gaston, Demarée R. “From ‘Periodical Observations’ to ‘Anthochronology’ and ‘Phenology’ – the Scientific Debate between Adolphe Quetelet and Charles Morren on the Origin of the Word ‘Phenology,’” n.d.

[4] Chan , Paul. “A Time Apart.” Time , 2013, 53–55.

[5] Ross, Christine. “The Temporalities of Video: Extendedness Revisited.” Art Journal, vol. 65, no. 3, 2006, pp. 82–99. JSTOR, target="_blank"> target="_blank"> target="_blank">

[6]  Ross, Christine. “The Temporalities of Video: Extendedness Revisited.” Art Journal, vol. 65, no. 3, 2006, pp. 82–99. JSTOR,

[7]   Ross, Christine. “The Temporalities of Video: Extendedness Revisited.” Art Journal, vol. 65, no. 3, 2006, pp. 82–99. JSTOR,

[8]   Ross, Christine. “The Temporalities of Video: Extendedness Revisited.” Art Journal, vol. 65, no. 3, 2006, pp. 82–99. JSTOR,

[9] Krauss, Rosalind. “Video: The Aesthetics of Narcissism.” October, vol. 1, 1976, p. 50., doi:10.2307/778507.

[10] “Feedback Loops.” Models, 22 Jan. 2019,

[11] Learnwithalbert. “Positive and Negative Feedback Loops in Biology.” Albert Blog, 30 Apr. 2017,

[12]  Krauss, Rosalind. “Video: The Aesthetics of Narcissism.” October, vol. 1, 1976, p. 50., doi:10.2307/778507.

[13] Lefebvre, Henri, and Donald Nicholson-Smith. The Production of Space. Blackwell, 2009.