Away from constraints – The art of Non-intent


Sometimes it may happen that an artist wants to express his/her art without any constraint whatsoever and just be guided by his/her own feeling in that moment. In doing so, the artist expresses the desire to lose himself and dive into the unknown just for once. This way of doing things it’s called Non-Intent, something made for pure personal pleasure, without thinking much about the reasons why.

As an artist, is something I prefer doing rather than following a scheme or even being forced to think of a background story when there is NONE. People always use to think that a piece of art is intended for a large public, therefore they think a peace of art should always be crystal clear to the majority of it.

They are wrong.

Barthes’s 1967 critical essay “The Death of the Author” addresses how the work of the artist ends when the piece of art is delivered into the world and how the reader is left to decipher the artist work. The complexity of what the author wanted to express are flattened when it arrives to the reader, the reader has the responsibility to get what the author wants to say. “The birth of the reader must be at the cost of the death of the Author”, Therefore the reader has the power and the option to more or less ignore the work’s background and focus more on the work itself. This point ultimately leads to Barthes main point: the reader holds more responsibility than the author.

An example could be found in John Cage’s 4’ 33”, a non-intent silent piano song where the artist sits in front of a piano, opens the piano lid and does nothing for four minutes and a half, bows to the public and gets applauses.

In conclusion, going back to Barthes’s essay, it directly links to a question I always ask myself “Why I design?” which I always end up answering bluntly “for myself”, the most important reader of them all.

Barthes, Roland. “The Death of the Author.” Art and Interpretation: An Anthology of Readings in Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art. Ed. Eric Dayton. Peterborough, Ont.: Broadview, 1998. 383-386. Print.


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