Bill Henson, Untitled #25, 2007/08

But, of course, it was in the dark where I dared myself to go further in exploring sensation. It was in the night where I learnt to shake off the suffocating chains of monotheism and puritanism and come to understand that the body was not sinful, an entity separate to the mind and the soul, but intricately linked. That I placed myself in danger is undeniably true. I went home with strangers who sometimes proved brutish or cruel, I risked encounters with disease. But the risks were inseparable from the experience and they gave meaning and weight to my adventures. Their significance was in the decisions I learnt to make and the protections I began to put in place. I discovered that adolescence is not simply the end of childhood but also the beginning of adulthood, something I fear our culture has lost sight of. I fumbled, I fell, I made mistakes. I learnt to stand on my own feet. I have the world of darkness to thank for this.

Christos Tsiolkas, Into a Liquid Ether, June 14th 2008