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.

Who is Dan Slatter (or Andrew Friedman)?

A researcher’s background and position will affect what they choose to investigate, the angle of investigation, the methods judged most adequate for this purpose, the findings considered most appropriate, and the framing and communication of conclusions.’

This CTS was with no doubt the best CTS so far, Andrew fully opened his heart and started going through his own personal (and professional!) growth from the starts to his life as a lecturer at LCC. Was such a blast for me and all of us!

As a headstart for his own story of self-discovery in the society he’s living in, Andrew started his CTS with the powerful meaning of the word Reflexivity (the quote at the start of this blog post) from Malterud, K, which I find very on point and also very close to me. I also think that Reflexivity is what gave Andrew the push to tell his story with such freedom and relax! Well done Andrew!

Dan chosed to tell his story via a personal link to the persona of Dan Friedman: a 360° outsider artist that kept experimenting through art his entire life, without never being linked to just one style. Friedman said in 1994:

I have chosen to define my position as that of an artist whose subject affects all aspects of life. […] In whatever area of speciality, I have wilfully maintained the perspective of an outsider. My goal in working in the “margins” has been to find a fresher view into the centre of things’.

Christopher Pullman recently stated as follow:

Dan Friedman exhibited that rare ability to shift seamlessly between the worlds of education, design, art, writing, and social activism.

As writing was a huge part of the life of both Andrew and Dan, the former also introduced us to George Orwell “Why I wrote?” four great motives for writing, which I personally think they can be applied to lots of fields of expertise, including art:

1. Sheer egoism. Desire to seem clever, to be talked about, to be remembered after death, to get your own back on grown-ups who snubbed you in childhood etc..

2. Aesthetic enthusiasm. Perception of beauty in the external world, or on the other hand, in words and their right arrangement.

3. Historical impulse. Desire to see things as they are, to find out true facts and to store them up for the use of posterity.

4. Political purpose. Desire to push the world in a certain direction, to alter other people’s idea of the of the kind of society they should strive after. The opinion that art should have nothing to do with politics is itself a political attitude.