Caught in a Void is an artwork by M.J. Lindow exploring his reflection of the 571 days between the start of Covid lockdowns and becoming a full-time generative artist. This personal element sets the artwork apart in the rather abstract generative art space and gives each unique iteration (there are 571 — one for each day) a place, time, and emotion of its own.
The artwork captures a particular period in the artist's life primarily defined by the upheaval of a global pandemic, permeating the personal theme with a broader collective experience of global uncertainty, isolation, emotional and physical distress, and inward reflection.
“By the end of summer 2020, I felt like I was wandering in a wasteland: a colorless landscape devoid of direction, enjoyment, or meaning. The first thing to enter my awareness when I would wake in the middle of the night was an oppressive emptiness.” - M.J. Lindow
In Caught in a Void the artist portrays the night of the soul. The past seems to have faded, tomorrow remains elusive. A lonely figure who longs to interact with life appears throughout the collection. Sparks of bright moments and hopefulness appear to enhance the figure’s longing to interact with life, just before they fade away again. Bright and dark moments ebb and flow like the trials of life, each piece reflecting one unique day, despite them all seeming the same.
The project's 571 editions encompass an entire emotional spectrum that predominantly pivots around these feelings of alienation. Compellingly, Caught in a Void illustrates how generative collections are meant to be seen as one whole unified work regardless of the number of iterations.
Thus, each iteration represents a different perspective of the underlying theme's emotional spectrum, while being randomly generated according to the same set of rules. Lindow’s algorithm uses a weighting system to select black, white, and muted color palettes more frequently than vibrant options.
However, in the project's final piece, iteration #571, we see the figure looking towards light, a symbol of hope and future. That this iteration was randomly created according to the same instructions as the previous 570 editions, fittingly closes the door on the collection. It seems that the beauty of both generative art and life itself lie in their inherent unpredictability.