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Tonight our guest is Vittorio Pelosi a British painter and founder of the fastest growing arts movement in the UK. It is called Intentism and they are artists, writers, musicians, actors, and philosophers who believe that 'All meaning is the outworking of intention.' We have conducted an interview with him.

What inspires you to the founding of this international art movement and how did you name it 'Intentism'?
There has been a growing weariness among many of today’s artists that the art establishment have been effectively gagging our voices. We are told that the artist’s intentions are not relevant in a work’s meaning. We are instead told that the viewer decides meaning. It was felt by a number of artists that this, in essence, robs the creator’s voice from the work. The result was that much art work has become anaemic. The idea has been borrowed from literary theory; notably the New Critics during the early part of the 20th century who claimed a work’s meaning can change over time and that a creator’s intention, even if known, can never be relevant. Then in the 1960’s Continental philosophers such as Barthes and Foucault wrote documents claiming the Death of the Author and the Birth of the Reader. Derrida’s ideas of deferred meaning was the final nail in the Author’s coffin.

As a small collective of artists we began to realize that our grievance was shared by many and we discovered pockets of other artists all over the Uk who were equally critical. The term Intentism seemed to be the right term as we are saying that the intention of the artist matters. Since then various musicians, authors, poets, actors, photographers, directors, and philosophers have joined our cause. We have even had fruitful dialogue with Professor Noam Chomsky who shares many of our ideas.

Which are the first countries to be involved in Intentism? Which countries or continent is/are still not aware about Intentism?
Well, the initial seed grew in the UK but Professor William Irwin (US) and Professor Paisley Livingston (Canada) have been writing and arguing the case for a few decades. Since our inception in 2009 we have had members of the movment contact us from most of Europe, parts of the Middle East, India, North, Central and South America and New Zealand.

There are probably many countries who are unaware of the movement, but I am not able to name them. Professor Chomsky is most concerned with the effect of The Death Thesis and some of its Post Modern affiliations in Third World Countries where they need rigorous academics to show them that even if meaning can never be communicated perfectly in any art form, it can be sufficinetly shared to make a difference to society and for artists to be pioneers not followers in social change.

What are the key challenges being a founder of Intentism?
Suppression of our ideas has been the number one. Intentists back in 2011 wrote to 90 of the most established art critics and writers in the UK asking simply for e-mail engagement with the ideas. 85 of the art critics ignored our emails and 5 wrote either condescending or aggressive replies. Adjectives like ‘absurd’ or ‘ nonsensical’ have been used and we had one art critic demand that we take down a perfectly amicable video interview he voluntarily gave for us ‘immediately.’ I think we have inadvertently become the enfants terribles of the art establishment. How do you or your members encourage more supporters of the ideas of Intentism? We have a website ( On here is our manifesto. There are articles by some of the foremost intellectuals on the matter. It has examples of Intentist art work, poetry, music, acting etc. There are interviews with various heavy weights on the issues. There are forums to discuss ideas. There is a recommeded reading section. There is a shop where Intentist publications can be bought. There is even a members section where you can join if you are interested.

Intentists have peacefully protested outside various art establishments. We were forcibly rejected from Tate Modern, London a little while back. We have also been the subject of panel debates, the most significant were ones at Chelsea School of Art, London and the Royal College of Art, London.
We have also given various lectures at Universities and Art Schools.

Which sectors do you think Intentism is not applicable to?
I think that in any area of human expression Intentism will be relevant- when writing an essay, talking to a friend, texting a family member, composing a song, painting a picture.

Can it really be the case that when I speak I can communicate – however imperfectly – but when I begin to write or paint I become suddenly dead? Can I no longer be heard when I pick up a pen? Do readers annd viewers really only see their own reflections in every artwork; their own face in every portrait? Are we really hermetically sealed in this bubble that no artist can communicate with us through their art? Intentionalist sceptics would have us believe this.

As our manifesto says ’Intenstism is a movement of artists, authors and musicians who believe that works can convey the artist or author’s intended message to his or her intended audience.

Intentism Reviewed by JaamZIN on 3:37:00 AM Rating: 5
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