An astronaut, monkey, or fetus tied by umbilical cord? 

This image is a point cloud generated by Point-E, a text-to-3D algorithm developed by OpenAI, released in December 2022. The input text was “astronaut,” yet what the eye might see in such a prefiguration likely differs depending on who’s looking. Is it really an astronaut at the pinnacle of human discovery or still yet a monkey caught in evolutionary time? Or rather, do you see an embryonic fetus just at the brink of life? 

The point cloud is not perfect nor complete. It has no surfaces, textures, nor mesh that binds its scattered parts. A preformation of an object, within a process of world-“ing” of sorts, the ontology of this object is somewhere between the human and machinic eye, its physics yet unfolding. From this collection of atoms– more precisely, 3D data points– that only suggest form, the human imagination is what completes the creation process, gives it a story, a life!