Intentionalism and the Arts

                         Confessional Tent Extrinsics

In the summer of 2010 a group of Intentists descended onto the Brownstock music festival, Essex, England.

In the campsite area, an Intentist tent was erected amongst all the others. 

Several Intentists had taken note that in an age where the intention of the artist is not relevant, Tracey Emin's work is unashamedly autobiographical. Her seminal piece 'Everyone I have Ever Slept With' (1963) is of particular interest.

Not only is it a deeply personal work, but it was commonly misunderstood as a solely sexual piece. Interestingly, it needed extrinsics (the intervention of Emin herself) to make the point that the work encompassed everyone that she had shared a bed with, including her grandma.

With this in mind, several Intentists thought an equally personal tent might succeed at a music festival. Mixing with thousands of other music fans can sometimes ironically be, a lonely place. Sometimes an event such as this can provide a context where people can find themselves analyzing their lives.


The Intentist Confessional tent was to provide a platform where revellers can entirely privately confess anything they wanted. To do this they would be provided with a pen and they would go in alone inside the tent and write out their confession on the inside of the tent. Although the confession had to be anonymous and we promised never to go in and read what was written, each confessor had to allow us to take their photograph.


The tent itself alluded to various associations of religiosity. For example, the fact that it was a tent meant that each confessor needed to enter on their knees. In the tent were arranged various candles and incense.

The overarching intention of the confessional tent was to demonstrate the unbreakable bridge between the author and the work. Subsequent to the music festival, the tent was exhibited alongside a wall of photos of every confessor. What was interesting was the natural reaction of the public to reading a particular salacious confession was to ascribe it to a photograph; in fact it became an almost 'Who dun it?'