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Created by Belgian artist Jasper Rigole, who’s part of the art group Voorkamer, 500 Letters is fairly amazing at what it does. This may be due to some combination of its programming and comprehensiveness. Users fill out a form that asks you to not only give your date and city of birth, but also choose your primary and secondary media, as well as the three main themes of your art. The media list includes “Conceptual” and “I work in a variety of media,” while the themes list offers “Confusion,” “Semiotics,” and “Utopia,” among many others.
The name “500 Letters” comes from Rigole’s letter introducing the generator, addressed to an unknown curator. “Previously, you asked me if I could send you an artist biography of 100 words or 500 letters as quickly as possible,” he writes. “Unfortunately I did not succeed at this task, as 100 words seem too concise to describe my work and really would be limiting to the complexity of my artistic practice. Therefore, 500 letters seems to me the best idea. But, since this will take much more time than currently available, I’m forced to ask for a postponement.”
The end result, as you can foresee, is the statement generator, which he employs to write his own biography and offers up to others to use as they please. And use it, you should. Here are some highlights from an absurdly convincing statement I generated for myself:
By demonstrating the omnipresent lingering of a ‘corporate world’, Steinhauer often creates work using creative game tactics, but these are never permissive. Play is a serious matter: during the game, different rules apply than in everyday life and even everyday objects undergo transubstantiation.
Her artworks demonstrate how life extends beyond its own subjective limits and often tells a story about the effects of global cultural interaction over the latter half of the twentieth century. It challenges the binaries we continually reconstruct between Self and Other, between our own ‘cannibal’ and ‘civilized’ selves. In a search for new methods to ‘read the city’, she focuses on the idea of ‘public space’ and more specifically on spaces where anyone can do anything at any given moment: the non-private space, the non-privately owned space, space that is economically uninteresting.
Her works are characterised by the use of everyday objects in an atmosphere of middleclass mentality in which recognition plays an important role. By taking daily life as subject matter while commenting on the everyday aesthetic of middle class values, her works references post-colonial theory as well as the avant-garde or the post-modern and the left-wing democratic movement as a form of resistance against the logic of the capitalist market system.
If that doesn’t sound like International Art English, I don’t know what does.
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