I decided I wanted to try to do an “art study” using MidJourney to create unique cover art for individual songs from my favorite albums. Year Zero, a dystopian concept album by Nine Inch Nails, and one of my all time favorite albums, seemed like the obvious place to start.
Each image tries to capture the overall themes, feelings, and texture of each song. I’ve always had such a visual relationship with music, both in terms of how I experience music in my own mind, as well as the ways that things like album covers totally influence and color my perception of the songs. So these were an effort to expand and deepen that synesthetic experience of the music, in order to deepen my own enjoyment and appreciation of each track.
I think another reason this project was so satisfying to work on is not only because it deepens and expands my own enjoyment of the music, but there’s also something about the process of making the images that’s almost a mirror reflection of music enjoyment in the first place.
A song or album that I love is “mine”, in a powerful, personal, and intimate sense.
But it doesn’t belong to me
In the same way, these images are also “mine” — they are signifiers that are pointing to a particular series of referents in my own head and heart, an interior feeling I have when internalizing the music and metabolizing the sounds in my head. But just like the songs themselves, these images don’t really belong to me, nor does the process I used to create them.
All of which emphasize the participatory and enactive nature of art — how an artifact that doesn’t belong to you nonetheless becomes “yours”, in terms of the unique phenomenological worldspace that opens up when you enact that artifact.
In both cases, the artwork itself isn’t “mine”. But the experience of the artwork, and the worldspace it opens up within me, absolutely is.
Anyway, here’s my rendition of Year Zero by Nine Inch Nails.