Art borne ‘In Tension’ or of intention

With a last name like “Brilliant,” one might expect a lot from him.

I walked by a pop-up art display in downtown Birmingham, Alabama, earlier this week, and I was struck with the title: “In Tension.”

Say it a few times fast. Sounds like “intention” doesn’t it? Did the artist, um, intend that?

It’s a strange-looking work in a former drug store of what turns out to be coffee stirrers and coffee cup sleeves; it looks like a big, airy tornado. Or possibly a representation of Jabba the Hut’s intestinal tract. It’s the work of artist Jonathan Brilliant, and it’s on display only until Saturday.

For images and a description, click here. According to the story at, the entire structure is woven together (get it? with tension?) and supported by tubes of the coffee cup sleeves.

Like good art, the work made me think about the difference between tension and intention. Tension is bad, right? But in this case, tension is required to keep the structure together. Intention was required to create the work (that amount of coffee stirrers doesn’t just appear out of thin air). But the work is on display for only eight days. Who intends that?

Now I’m thinking about “In Tension” in my own life. Is my life full of tension? Or intention? How about yours?

For another post today on tenses and intention, check out my author blog here.

3 responses to “Art borne ‘In Tension’ or of intention

  1. Brilliant! (ha!). Definitely live intention-ally!!

  2. Due to a strong science background, “tension” is as much just a force to me as it is the stressful kind of thing between people.

    As for intentions,… remember what the road to Hell is said to be paved with!

    • Shoot! That’s a great line. I wish I would have remembered it for the headline … “Road to thoughtful art is paved with coffee-themed intentions”

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