Year Zero: An AI Art Study

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.


A lot of spikes in those creations, fewer waves, which makes sense for a dystopian album, along with programming code. I thought of EEG, EKG, truth-o-meter (lie detector tests) readings, even the spikes on a sound mixer. I’m not familiar with this album, but if it has the same overall coherence as your creations song-to-song in terms of theme, feeling, texture, and color, it must be pretty good.

This is fun stuff. I’ve been using AI generated art to place on my screens, not only for enjoyment but for “therapeutic” purposes, to remind myself to explore and focus on and go deeper into particular things.

I love it Corey! Both as a fellow addict of MJ but also integral arts.

I think Midjourney can be an incredible tool particularly for exploring visionary or subtle body practices. Either as a playful exploration of imagery that can call to you in a shamanic fashion that Alex Grey might talk about. Being attracted to the at times unpredictable images MJ can conjur not too dissimilar to what we naturally have in the dream realm. Or as an unprecedented way to generate images that can be close approximations of whatever you are seeing in your mind’s eye in a matter of minutes. Talk about a lightning-fast phenomenon to move UL phenomena into the UR or LL.

Amazing! I will go back and listen, see, and try feeling Me. Music is a real joy for myself too. I recently seem to be consuming Xavier Rudd’s newest gift. Jan Juc Moon. I am learning to channel the feels into my journey.
There are some real gifts there. I don’t know if he is in Integral Practice but he is. :heart:

Sarah. :ocean: