“For you are dust,
and to dust you shall return.”
— Genesis 3:19

With these words, Adam and Eve were cast out from the Garden of Eden, cursed to experience a life of painful toil and to bear the knowledge of their own mortality. Freed from the weight of its original context the passage can be read as a reminder that our time on earth is finite, that we are all particulate matter and small pieces of a vast whole. In my own agnostic interpretation I see in these words a call for a more sustainable, ethical, and mindful approach to life. I am also compelled to reflect on the nature and meaning of dust itself.

Though they may appear static, rocks are time-based generative pieces of matter. Through their layers, patterns, and textures time’s perpetual march is made visible. We owe much of our understanding of the earth and of our past to the study of rocks. It seems to follow that they may also be able to tell us something about our present moment as well as what is yet to come.

The rush and blur of contemporary life drive us constantly towards immediate gratification. While this has resulted in remarkable innovation, a blinkered focus on individual progress has come at the cost of meaningful engagement with the universal. My hope is that 3:19 can serve as reminder to pause and reflect on the enormity of geologic time, on the breathtaking scale of the universe, and on the ways in which the present is constantly giving shape to the universe’s future form.

It’s not lost on me that encouraging this kind of reflection through an NFT series is a complicated, and perhaps somewhat ironic, exercise. Much has been written about the problematic aspects of NFTs. While I don’t believe there’s anything inherently “wrong” with the medium, it’s undeniable that the NFT format has given rise to a culture that can be both consumptive and superficial.

With all this in mind, I examined both 3:19 and my practice in a harsh light. I had to be sure the project was executed in a manner consistent with its themes of purpose, meaning, and reflection. Ultimately, I elected to take a deliberate approach both in the scope of the project’s output and in the way in which it would be made available. Though thousands of unique forms of color, form, and shape are possible only 19 iterations of 3:19 will be minted.

In a way it’s appropriate that so many versions of 3:19 will remain as yet unrealized, scattered somewhere in the void. It may be true that we are dust, and that to dust we shall return, but let us not forget that dust is in a constant state of becoming. Who knows what wonders it may yet hold?

Generative and ( mostly ) on-chain

3:19 is fully generative, meaning the same single code snippet is responsible for creating infinite deterministic outputs. Every time a new edition is minted, the transaction hash is used to 'seed' the randomness of the visual outcome, making each mint unique.


These are some sample outputs generated by the script.

More info