Flowers grow from the parts that are missing

In early 2022, the AI image generator ‘MidJourney’ was online creating images using version 3 of its engine. It was dazzling and addictive to play with, I made a point to record all the variations of the text prompts I used to create works. Some of those images were so haunting and beautiful but lacked that feeling that you’re seeing a real person being present in their thoughts, a strong and important theme in my work.

In late 2022, MidJourney released version 4 of its engine, a huge jump forward in quality, concepts and outputs. In my text prompt collection, I had one very long, very detailed and much-treasured prompt that needed to go back into this new engine to see what it could now be generated.

The title “Flowers grow from the parts that are missing” is part of that very long text prompt, one that would surface the faces of elderly women with garlands of flowers across/growing from them. Presented below is a series of my attempts to take that prompt and apply it to various human phenotypes based on geographical regions or ethnography. To see what biases the AI would lean into, how tenderly it would present that bias, how much emotional depth could be conveyed and how much agency could live in the artificial eyes of these virtual women.