Aimless: What’s in a Style?

An artist and fellow blogger, Judith, recently shared an auto-text generator, 500 Letters, that creates artist biographies. Judith shared part of the biography that was generated for her, and I was surprised and intrigued to see how much it seemed to relate to her approach to art and to the art she creates.

I thought I’d give it a try. (You can try it, too! If you do, feel free to share your results in the comments below or on your blog!)

Here’s what the auto-generator created for me:

Cathy is an artist who works in a variety of media. By exploring the concept of landscape in a nostalgic way, she tries to grasp language. Transformed into art, language becomes an ornament. At that moment, lots of ambiguities and indistinctnesses, which are inherent to the phenomenon, come to the surface.

Her artworks establish a link between the landscape’s reality and that imagined by its conceiver. These works focus on concrete questions that determine our existence. By investigating language on a meta-level, she 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 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, she investigates the dynamics of landscape, including the manipulation of its effects and the limits of spectacle based on our assumptions of what landscape means to us. Rather than presenting a factual reality, an illusion is fabricated to conjure the realms of our imagination.

Her works focus on the inability of communication which is used to visualise reality, the attempt of dialogue, the dissonance between form and content and the dysfunctions of language. In short, the lack of clear references are key elements in the work.

Maybe because it’s so abstract it could, with interpretation, apply to a wide range of work, this description seems very much to apply to my writing here on this blog! I do explore “the concept of landscape in a nostalgic way ,” and I do consider the connection between landscape and language. For me, our response to landscape is shaped by our relation to language–the mental constructs which our individual lexicons form often create the landscapes that we see. I suppose, in my work, the “ambiguities and indistinctnesses” that I strive for occur because I wish to strip down the language so that we see the landscape without the filter of language. In writing, this is challenging, for it’s through the language that we present the landscape and experience of landscape: Yet I strive for a point where language drops away–the medium dissolves–and the reader is left with the experience.

I suppose in this way,  I’m considering the “link between the landscape’s reality and that imagined by its conceiver.”

“These works focus on concrete questions that determine our existence:” Yes, I hope this is true of my writing, and I know it’s what I often think about while writing, but can’t the same be said of most of our writing, when we use it to think deeply about our existence? So in this way, a statement like this, in its abstractness, applies to the work of any serious artist or writer.

Now for a writer of SimLit, here’s a happy kismet: “She often creates work using creative game tactics… Play is a serious matter: during the game, different rules apply than in everyday life and even everyday objects undergo transubstantiation.”

This could almost be a credo for SimLit writers! When I think of many of my SimLit writing friends, I realize that we rely on these “different rules” that apply to the realities of our Sims’ lives and worlds: All of us make use of the “transubstantiation” that everyday objects and Sims in the game experience.

I often wonder if my non-Simming friends would be able to enjoy my Sim stories. Generally, I conclude that they wouldn’t–there are so many in-game references implied in every story, and so much of our experience of realizing the depth of the “transubstantiation” happens because of the interplay between the game and life.

I don’t really know what to make of the “middle-class” references in the third paragraph, but I do know that I like to investigate the connections between our aesthetics, the dynamics of landscape, and what it means to us.

Does the fourth paragraph relate at all to my work?  I like to play with the dissonance between form and content. I enjoy examining the dysfunction of language, though I don’t feel skilled enough to consistently use this as a tool in my writing. I’m not sure about the “lack of clear references”–I like to shift reality and to play with ambiguity, but I also like to establish my stories in a concrete world, a landscape that is rich with meaning.

This was a really fun experiment, and applying this automated text to my work helped me examine it–and my artistic intentions–in a way I wouldn’t have otherwise!

I encourage you to give it a try by using the free generator at 500 Letters, and then to share your results!