500 Letters is a digital artist statement generator, created in 2010 by the Belgian artist Jasper Rigole. It can be read as a humorous statement against the characteristically hermetic vocabulary that often occurs in artist spaces.
The auto-generation of the texts is realized through lists of keywords, such as ‘irony’, ‘landscape’, ‘appropriation’ and ‘semiotics’, and also through pre-fabricated sentences.
The visitor can fill in a questionnaire, and out rolls a statement about one’s work; vague and interesting-sounding.
Despite this work being mostly interesting for people working in art, it hits an underlying note, namely the issue of accessibility within the art world. How do we correspond complex and often hermetic concepts to an audience? Art, in contrast to other media like film or video games, shouldn’t just rely on sales numbers for its success, and neither on entertainment.
500 Letters tackles and insincere form of describing art, namely describing for the sake of it; the royal use of seemingly deep but meaningless terms, because actually there’s not much to say.