Picking a City Won't Solve Your Problems
Midjourney and image generations: what kind of product is this anyway?
This post is going to be speculative and dreamy. You’ve been warned.
Ok, so I’ve been playing with knolling and midjourney. I didn’t know what “knolling” meant until today. It’s about these artfully-laid-out grids of things that capture a vibe or similar.
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Here’s the thing with MidJourney, you can generate these knollings (is that the plural?) for any topic pretty quickly.
A Typical New York City Apartment:
You can see a consistent affect and vibe. The kinds of things that someone that identifies as being a New Yorker would have in their everyday lives.
A typical San Francisco Apartment:
Notice here, too, the more granola and outdoorsy vibe of San Francisco. The victorian house, the trees. These are all the things that someone who takes on “San Franciscan” as their personality would love.
I then got a little playful and went for some snarky examples: an “eat pray love travel toolkit” and a “Napa wine tour bachelorette party”. You can probably tell which is which.
“Why are you telling me all this, Ben?”
As I reacted to these generated knolling images, I was able to consider them consciously. I was considering the affective personality in these images consciously. Not just bubbling around in my unconscious, unexamined.
Think about it like this: you know how some people take on these affects as their personality? How some people move to New York to become a New Yorker? Or they move to San Francisco to become a San Franciscan? That desire is from a stage in Kegan’s Adult Developmental Theory (ADT)1 called a a Socialized Mind. In short: people who identify themselves based on group norms and have difficulty seeing and understanding different perspectives. Has little/no connection with age.
If you feel stuck, not knowing where you should make home, it may be a good sign: You no longer see yourself as defined by the social game (San Francisco! New York! Napa! ✨travel✨!) around you. You are realizing that picking a city won't answer your questions about who you are and want to become.
Which frees me quite a bit from some of my "where should home be?" questions.
(Aside: Your personality probably shouldn’t be summarizable by a simple image.)
Postscript: I still have no fucking idea what this midjourney thing means. But it sure as hell is something, if it can do that with me. It's like... it lets me be in visual dialogue with my unconscious yearnings, so I can observe them, and bring conscious reactions to them, via a visual medium that I can intuitively react to.