Ken Wentworth


Sue Dodd

Dodd, Sue Ellen. 2013. "Gossip Pop: A Performative Investigation Of The Role Of Pop In Contemporary Art Practice". Vuir.Vu.Edu.Au.

This text forms part of a thesis submission by Melbourne artist Sue Dodd, Submitted in fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. It details her creative project Gossip Pop, in its methodology and also theoretical framework. The Gossip Pop project came to prominence in the Melbourne art scene around the same time that I also commenced my investigative project in 2005. Due to our use of similar subject matter I have thus referred to this thesis as a way of understanding how Dodd as an artist extracts and implants meaning onto similar source material to myself. It also aided me to understand essential components of her creative project, to give an understanding of its frameworks, and to enable me to undertake further detailed investigation of project elements and influences. 

The reason I have included this reference is that the work of Sue Dodd was very contemporary and influential at the point that I commenced my creative investigation of gossip imagery from celebrity magazines in 2005. She is a key figure in this area of recent times in the Australian Contemporary Art scene, and thus a key figure in placing myself amongst my contemporaries and within a historical context in my area of creative investigation. Aside from Dodd being a prominent and key artist of the time, the element that resonates with me, is a playful engagement with the creative process via the use of celebrity magazine images. She had  fun in a tongue and cheek manner with her practice, and actively encouraged the audience to be knowing and engaged observers in the wit and irony of the content of her performative artworks, she made art fun, which is something I aspire to replicate. 

Dodd, Sue Ellen. 2005. "Gossip Pop - Fears for Spears".
Dodd, Sue Ellen. 2005. "Gossip Pop - Starf**ker".

These video artworks form part of the Gossip Pop project by Melbourne based artist Sue Dodd. The video work "Fears for Spears" uses the text from a celebrity gossip magazine article about Britney Spears as the starting point for the creation of the video artwork. Dodd takes key text elements from the body of the article to form a type of makeshift pop song, and then contrasts the words from the body of the article with the “chorus” taken from the source article headline ‘Fears for Spears’. It re-purposes the original text taken from the article to make a new work. The video work "Starf**ker" in this case repurposes the story or cultural archetype of the "starf**ker", who gains validation by association with celebrities. Both works in a tongue in cheek manner comments on the nature of the media landscape that we all now inhabit, and makes the audience/viewer an active and knowing participant in the ironic meaning engendered.

These works relate back to my work as I also use source material from celebrity gossip magazines, and repurpose it to make artworks that endeavor to extract additional and complex meanings. I am currently experimenting with the use of gossip magazine images, and also performative works that attempt to reenact archetypal scenes from these images. I anticipate that the project may progress to video-based artworks, but regardless will refer back to the artworks of Sue Dodd as an ongoing influence and inspiration for my future work.

Other References
Colless, Edward. 2004. "Hot Gossip [Melbourne Performance Artist Sue Dodd]." Australian Art Collector, no. 30: 104.

Candice Breitz

Shillinger, Jakob. 2011. "The prosumer version - Art from the masses".

This article starts with placing the reader in history, with the ‘pictures generation’ of Cindy Sherman, Richard Prince, Barbara Kruger etc, and discusses the relationship of these artists to the new ‘prosumer generation’ of artist who have expanded on the foundation of these key artists in their comment on our relationship to the evolving nature of the image / digital / media landscape. The ‘prosumer’ artist’s discussed are: Aleksandra Domanovic, Candice Breitz, Oliver Laric etc. It analyses the shift with the prosumer artist’s to a new form of repurposing of imagery or cultural elements, one that is endless and shifting, and involves the viewer as an active participant in this repurposing of meaning.

This article has inspired me to want to explore the concept of the ‘prosumer’, and to expand on the understanding of this in my artwork, to further explore my place in the history of appropriation, and to think of ways I can position myself and the viewer of my work as a contemporary participant in the ‘prosumer’ theoretical framework and its evolution.

Breitz, Candice. 2006 "Her"

This video work by Candice Breitz is part of a set of works, this work being “Her” and the matching work “Him”. In this work the actress Meryl Streep is shown as a form of composite digital conversation created by an interplay between characters that she has played. The characters depict archetypes of the female character from cinema, separated from the context of the film they were contained by black backgrounds behind each character. The characters are displayed in clusters on the screen, and linked via common conversational elements, and subject matter. The work cycles through various subject areas and emotive situations that makes the characters into a complex interplay that evolves over the work to have a distinct emotional arch, where she creates a real relationship between the characters and a psychological space the viewer inhabits.

The reason I have chosen this work is that with my current practice I am via groupings of characters from media imagery exploring archetypes and also nuanced relationships that can be displayed, and how the vulnerability of characters can be explored. I am reducing the image to its basic components by removing identifiable facial features and reducing pictorial elements to simple shapes, to me this is similar to the black background of this video work and how it reduces the characters to an isolated component to heighten the meaning of the work.

Other References

Breitz, Candice. 2016. "Love Story".
Breitz, Candice. 2006  "Mother, Conversation".
Breitz, Candice. 2006 "Him"
Jennifer, Allen. 2018. "Candice Breitz: From A to B and Beyond".
Breitz, Candice.

Doug Aitken 

Lund, Christian. 2016  "Doug Aitken interview: The conditions we live under".

This video is an interview with Doug Aitken explaining his interpretation of the current information landscape we inhabit and its relationship to his work. We now inhabit multiple environments, physical and digital. This creates an environment that is non-linear and is not longer singular but collective, where things can happen simultaneously on multiple planes of reference. This allows us to explore new narratives and ways of understanding.

I have chosen to critique this video and the content it discusses as it expresses very well the relationship to the world and new perspectives that I’m trying to navigate and understand via my artwork at the moment. I am also via my use of existing physical imagery attempting to comment on and place the viewer in this nonlinear cultural environment, to place them in a new place of contemplation, to consider their place in the multifaceted cultural and physical environment that we now inhabit.

Erickson, Steve. 2013.“Doug Aitken is Redefining How We Experience Art”.

This online article discusses the work of Doug Aitken, and has a focus on the work mirror which was installed on the corner of the Seattle Art Museum in 2013. Aitken refers to the piece as an urban earthwork. The piece makes use of sensors collecting data on a location at the centre of Seattle that are then via algorithms translated to update the pre-edited footage created by Aitken and his team. So, the work is constantly changing and is in flux mirroring the transient nature of the real world, nature and experience.

Doug Aitken "spins art into a continually unfolding experience...that incorporates our memories and sensibilities with life’s landscape...and which rejects... not just limits of form and function, time and space, but those conditions by which subjective dogmas, including Aitken’s, obligate our thinking".

The reason I have chosen this article, is I think in a way that I am also in a fashion trying to create artwork that floats in the ‘space between’ that Aitken manages to do so well with his work. Through my reworking of cultural artifacts, I also attempt to create a new world or space for the viewer to inhabit, a place of contemplation that allows for a revisioning of meaning expanded from the original source material. I also anticipate that I may replicate some of Aitken’s concepts as experiments to feed the development of my own practice.

Aitken, Doug, 2016 "Song 1 - Installation projection, Hirshhorn Museum"
Aitken, Doug. 2018  "Youtube playlist".

David Rosetzky

Rosetzky, David. 2012. "Portrait of Cate Blanchett, interview with David Rosetzky at ACCA 2012"

This video is an interview with the artist David Rosetzky detailing the creation of the video work ‘Portrait of Cate Blanchett’, a work commissioned from the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra. It is a video portrait that challenges the traditional unified notion of a portrait to be rather one that is multifaceted, revealing the self as part of component parts rather that a unified whole. It is an interesting analysis of how as an actor she is required to be both in her body, and also an observer of how she is perceived. The notion of the nature of the self or identity in flux is investigated, using the moving image as a medium to explore this. 

I find this video portrait relates to my work as I’m also interested in the concept of how figures negotiate the physical and psychological landscape of the world, and how by the use of imagery of the body in space in my paintings and my planned video / photographic performance works I am exploring similar notions of the depiction of identity as being multi-dimensional, expansive and representative of both the individual and the collective - and thus universally accessible.

Zagala, Anna. 2015. “Making gaps: David Rosetzky's collaborators in conversation
[online]” Artlink, Vol. 35, No. 3, 32-37.

This text is a breakdown of the video work Gaps by David Rosetzky, which was commissioned by the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Melbourne and Carriageworks in Sydney. It is broken down into elements, detailing involvement, contribution, and understanding of the project by the accounts of the individuals involved. Gaps embodies Rosetzky’s ongoing exploration of personal identity and the relationship – or ‘gaps’ – between self and other through speech, movement.

With Gaps Rosetzky draws from different video genres, to destabilise character conventions used to establish participant identities. The project also investigates issues of racial difference, and racism underlying in Australian Culture.

The reason why I have chosen this text, is to further investigate and understand the meaning behind the work of David Rosetzky. The area of investigation in this work also relates to my current creative project, as I am also attempting via the use of media imagery and exploration of space, micro / micro, and the digital meta space to explore the gaps we all attempt to negotiate via our relationship to the world and our interpersonal relationships to others.

Rosetzky, David. 2008. "Collage 08".
Rosetzky, David.

Ryan Trecartin

Katamura, Katie. Kunzro, Hari. Oct 2011. "Ryan Trecartin: In conversation"

This online article is an interview with Contemporary Artist Ryan Trecartin. Via questions directed at the artist the writer further investigates and elaborates on the underlying meanings in Trecartin’s work. Trecartin explains that his projects usually start with words, written or audio. Visual components are also linked to linguistic components: logos, products, graphic design, interfaces etc. The script is then expanded from these basic elements, and spatially different characters, signifiers, mentalities and accents form. What is actually filmed then stems from the script in a synergy between script, situation and performers. The performers are given free agency to create something new, to create additional meaning/s that were not originally intended. 

I am in the early stages of experimenting with preformative artworks, that much like Trecartin's, use human actors as forms or entities to act out situations. That are inspired by or infer how collective and individual identities are formed via their relationship to the multifaceted digital and physical worlds that we all now inhabit.

The reason I have chosen this article, is that much like myself Trecartin is also re-purposing cultural elements into a new form. My own creative project is also making use of existing cultural signifiers and re-purposing them, to place the viewer in a similar non-linear cultural and psychological landscape.  I plan to further expand my performance based works, and use Trecartin as an inspirational influence to challenge what I am conveying and exploring with my art practice. 

Trecartin, Ryan. 2017. "OMG! WTF! (overcommunication) - The Thing About...Art & Artists"

This video commences with the artist Ryan Trecartin explaining his artwork and creative practice. He explains that he is trying to comment on how people are sculpting out a space with conversation, but without it being clear what they are saying, and how via non verbal communication somehow the meaning in these interactions is still conveyed. He creates works inspired by these kind of interactions and how to him they collectively create a thematic or singular didactic meaning. He then acts this out, and via multiple bodies communicates a singular concept. He then elaborates on the concept, in relation to his video artwork ‘The centre of Jenny’, he references social media, and how the interface dictates your engagement with others in a way, and raises the question ‘do you want to be in a hub, or do you want to be in an environment that has tools that you can use freely’, and expands that this is about free will. Characters are like reflected, fragmented versions of stereotypes.

The reason I have chosen to look further into this video, is Trecartin is also extracting elements of culture and re-purposing them to analyse and critique the world we live in. I believe that I am also doing this via my collage works, that make use of an initial cultural reference image to scaffold meaning upon to.  My performance works are in very early rudimentary stages, however I can see  as mentioned previously that I anticipate that Trecartin's work will inspire me to challenge how these works convey meaning and extend myself and the viewer to see the world from different perspectives.  His works are quite condensed in the meaning they convey, which is unsettling and destabilising. They make use of a free form of elements to suggest surreal psychological and physical landscapes, inferring rather than directly inscribing meaning, to question the viewers perception of what is played out in each artwork.  I would also like to aspire to create artworks that also challenge viewer perceptions like Trecartin's work, and I will keep him as an ongoing reference to feed and inspire complex meanings in my work.

Richard Prince

John Baldessari 

Elizabeth Peyton

Image / text based reference materials

Examining images/pictures and what they mean culturally.

Celebrity & Pop

Concealment and constructed space

Datafication, the internet, media streams, and public versus private space.

Performance, digital pastiche, humour and the absurd.

Appropriation and collage.

Reimagining painting (Painting 2.0)

The prosumer

The Phenomenological, philosophy, the body and mortality


Patrick Ireland: Also David Reed & painting and film: & some ancient history but nonetheless of interest: Also see David Joselit on some of the hidden histories & legacies of television and contemporary art: The Ebook for this: