Ken Wentworth

Text that accompanied 2006 West Space images

   I construct and segment my perception to match my social and cultural environment. (Mary Tyler-Moore)



‘The general characteristics of human nature participate in the work of elaboration from which social life results. But they are not the cause of it, nor do they give it its special forms; they make it possible. Collective representations, emotions, and tendencies are caused not by certain states of consciousness of individuals but by the conditions in which the social group, in its totality, is placed… individual natures are merely the indeterminate material that the social factor moulds and transforms.’1


‘Notice, first, that the generation of culture is a social activity. A solitary human mind can not secrete culture.’2


1: Durheim, E. 1895. The rules of the social method. (1962 edition. Free Press)

2: Ridley, Matt. Nature via Nurture. (2003. Harper Collins)





    Where the fuck is all this leading me? …I can’t do this anymore! (Sienna Miller)



‘Straying is the original (if unintended) act of demystification, on which reveals the coercive ‘nature’ of the prescribed path, the straight and narrow. The path we thought we were on by choice we are in fact on by arrangement, and in straying we discover alternative ways to alternative futures.’

 ‘The masterless, without a fixed place, identity, or occupation, were perceived as a threat to the state and the social order.’

We find evil conceptualized simultaneously as, on one hand, a foreign force or agency at once alien, antithetic, and hostile; on the other as an inner deviation, the more insidious for having departed from the true, its point of departure from within the true being also point of contact for the perversion of the true.’


‘When authority forces us back into line it becomes apparent that power rather than nature regulates the order of things; in the ‘fact’ of natural destiny is discerned a process of subordination.’



Dollimore, Jonathan. Sexual Dissidence. (1998. Clarendon Press)





    My mind forms the point of convergence of your historical lines of reference. (Liz Hurley)



‘A culture-led process, acting over a long period of human evolutionary history, could easily have led to a fundamental reworking of human psychological dispositions.’1


‘The denial of free will, then, comes from viewing a brain as being embedded in a linear causal chain…free will and universal determinism are irreconcilable boxes to which linear causality leads.’2


1: Durham, W. H, Boyd, R., and Richerson, P.J. Models of Cultural Evolution. In; Human By Nature. Ed: Weingert, P., Mitchell, S.D., Richerson, P.J., and Maasen, S. (1997. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates)

2: Freeman, W.J. How brains make up their minds. (1999. Weidenfeld and Nicolson)








    My identity hangs on my association with your collective threads. (Farrah Fawcett)



‘The behaviour of a human being owes much to his [her] nature; but it also owes much to the rituals and habits of his [her] fellows. He [she] seems to absorb something from the tribe.'


Ridley, Matt. Nature via Nurture. (2003. Harper Collins)






    I look to the side as you advise that my culture’s foundations rot, is this on sale?  (Oprah Winfrey)


‘It is an excruciating experience to watch the planet fall apart piece by piece in the face of persistent and pathological denial. The situation is reminiscent of Rhinoceros, a play written in the 1960’s by Eugene Ionesco. The plays main character, Berenger, and his girlfriend, Daisy, watch with dismay as, one after another, their fellow towns people turn into Rhinoceroses. What makes this surrealistic comedy so deeply unsettling is that, except for Berenger and Daisy, the remaining humans in the town refuse to see these transformations. They simply will not acknowledge the fact that, one by one, their colleagues are turning into animals.’


Gelbspan, Ross. Boiling Point – How Politicians, Big Oil and Coal, Journalists, and Activists Have Fueled the Climate Crisis – and What We Can Do to Avert Disaster. (2004. Basic Books)




    I’ve got my eyes on you cunt! (Kim Basinger)



‘To contain and control deviance, and thereby to master it, is to supply fresh and dramatic proof of the enormous powers that are behind the social order. The visible control of deviance is one of the most effective mechanisms by which a social order can tangibly display its potency. The act of harnessing things that are dangerous helps to revitalize the system by demonstrating to those who live within it just how awesome its powers really are.’


‘The work of policing boundaries crucial to maintaining of social domination – boundaries of country, race and class – is effaced and dissolved into the a priori internal regulation of nature.’


‘The expiation that once rained down upon the body must be replaced by the punishment that acts in depth on the heart, the thoughts, the will, the inclinations. Mably formulated the principle once and for all: ‘punishment, if I may put it, should strike the soul rather than the body’…a new character came on the scene masked. It was the end of a certain kind of tragedy: Comedy began, with shadow play, faceless voices, impalpable entities.’  Dollimore, Jonathan. Sexual Dissidence. (1998. Clarendon Press)






  I’d give my left arm to be part of the cultural elite. (Nicole Richie)



‘To become what others saw him [her] as being required great self discipline ‘simular to spiritual exercises’


‘I wish to emphasize that our ‘normal’ ‘adjusted’ state is to often the abdication… the betrayal of our true potentialities, that many of us are only too successful in acquiring a false self to adapt to false realities’


Dollimore, Jonathan. Sexual Dissidence. (1998. Clarendon Press)







    I pledge allegiance to your flag, and resonate the colours of your spectrum? (Burt Reynolds)


 ‘Identity categories have come to be considered complicit in the very structures that their assertion was intended to overthrow.’


‘Identity categories tend to be instruments of regulatory regimes, whether as the normalizing categories of oppressive structures or as the rallying points for a libratory contestation of that very oppression.’


‘[Collective] Ideology reaches into experience and identity, re-emerging as ‘voluntary’ self oppression.’


Jugose, Annamarie. Queer theory. (1996. Melbourne University Press)





    My spheres of perception float in your ephemeral realms. (Nicole Kidman)



‘I think we are dealing with an octopus. We have become the creatures of these people. Advertising as news, it’s very skilfully done. The methods of seduction in the media are far more sophisticated, and the money that’s going into it, and the ingenuity of the spin, has reached the point where we, as a general public, have never been lied to by such sophisticated means as now. And, of course, this completely compounds the modern notions of transparency, and instant communication, its instant brain washing.’


Sheehan, Paul. The electronic whorehouse. (2003. Pan Macmillan)  





My transient points of obsession are symbolic of your culture’s collective psychosis.(Nicole Kidman)



‘Immediately recognisable, immediately replaceable, that is the ideal, since in a world that is measured in nanoseconds …our minds are trained to be impatient; our attention span is brief… We must be hungry for the next thing even while the present object is still being consumed. The appeal to our interest must never command so much loyalty or affection that the object of it can not be replaced.’

 ‘There is something darker and more deeply hidden than we bargained for that..keeps us, in both senses of the word, wondering, and puzzles and keeps some of our best writers writing; a mystery that may, like the need these figures appeal to, be in us rather than them, though it is through them, and in them, that we feel our way towards it.’


Malouf, David. ‘Fifteen minutes’. From; Griffith review 5 – Addicted to celebrity. (2004. ABC Books) 






    OMG! Have I become my media persona? (Robbie Williams)



‘And De Profundis is the confession of an individual no longer capable of distinguishing self from false self, where all subjects have become objects.’


‘To lose one’s cover is to lose one’s soul, to be undone in the sense of socially ruined and spiritually taken apart.’

‘Mimicry becomes....’at once resemblance and menace.’’


Dollimore, Jonathan. Sexual Dissidence. (1998. Clarendon Press)






    The cameras are inside of me, how can that be? (Nicole Richie)



‘Stars, lies and propaganda have become the stock in trade of public life, distorting reality, unhinging trust in institutions and corroding confidence. Who can you trust? Who can you believe? Messages are now so massaged and refined that the raw material is sometimes unrecognisable.’


Schultz, Julianne. ‘Stars, Lies and propaganda’. From the introduction to; Griffith review 5 – Addicted to celebrity. (2004. ABC Books) 







    You monitor me covertly and infiltrate my thoughts surreptitiously. (Lara Flynn-Boyle)



‘The spin doctor has the opportunity to sculpt the terrain on which public debate occurs and to play the puppet-master, crafting the words and images that create the future. And it is a craft because spin doctors are doing more than just spinning a web to catch our minds. The application of spin is subtle work....’1


‘If we understand the mechanisms and motives of the group in mind, it is now possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing It.’2


1: Stockwell, Stephen. ‘Spinning the fabric of reality’. In; Griffith review 5 – Addicted to celebrity. (2004. ABC Books) 

2: Bernays, Edwards. ‘Propaganda’. 1928. Quoted in; Sheehan, Paul. The electronic whorehouse. (2003. Pan Macmillan)



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