“Toxic” is the name of my recent graduate film/installation.
This film focuses on people who identify in some way as a man or closer to masculine in terms of their gender identity and who are also exclusively or non-exclusively attracted to men.
It explores the conflicting idea of masculinity in western culture - how it can be something these people are really drawn to in terms of their own gender expression and in their own sexual attraction but also how it can also be an oppressing, intimidating and often damaging presence for them.
Using interviews with a handful of young adults within these parameters, the film unpacks how much of an effect masculinity has or doesn’t have in
shaping the participants’ external appearance, the choice of people they are sexually/romantically involved with, their self-esteem and choice of social scenarios.
These interviews are interwoven with performance art pieces which explore society’s rigid and binary idea of gender and how they impact on masculine queer people.
The film is shot entirely on VHS and uses a late 20th century, colourful, kitschy aesthetic as an ode to queer culture’s rich historical association with pop culture.
As part of the exhibition space, the film is shown on an early 1980s television with a similarly styled living room set up which nods to queer peoples ever present existence in Ireland even when swept under the carpet or hidden in plain sight.
As a whole the work aims to help liberate and embrace campness as an authentic means of artistic expression
Upon it’s debut at the IADT Graduate Show in June, “Toxic” was awarded two accolades and won the Inspirational Arts Photography Award 2018, competing with finalists from DIT, Griffith and LCAD