This takes me back to my own generative art. The “Medusa Collection” started as a series of paintings I made in 2019 after learning that Medusa had been raped by the god Poseidon and turned into a monster by his wife, the god Athena. I made the paintings to work through some of my own traumas and feelings of monstrousness, and, ideally, to connect with others over them. However, the limitations of displaying physical paintings in a physical gallery did not align with the scale of my feelings, nor my need to relate with others.
With the “Medusa Collection,” in which I used an algorithm to create 2,500 unique Medusa NFTs, I was able to blow past these analog barriers. For it, I created six massive Photoshop files, one for each head type. Each file had almost 70 layers, which were separated into seven different categories (background, skin color, shadow color, etc.). An algorithm would then randomly select one layer from each category (except for the “paint gesture” category, in which there could be up to three simultaneous layers) to create a complete, unique Medusa. The 2,500 pieces in the collection are a relatively small sample of the 5.8 billion possible outputs.
The result was a body of work more wild—in terms of color, composition, and scale—than anything I’d made before. By surrendering the creative reins to an algorithm, I was also able to let go of parts of myself that required perfection and planning. After all, there was no way I could possibly troubleshoot all the permutations my algorithm could produce. I had to trust my intuition—along with a force, in the form of an algorithm, outside myself.