"Toxic Frock" Performance and Animation by Cathy Dunbar and Helen Judge
Gas masked knitting of a fish-tailed frock and animated footage from renowned Hammer Horror and Film Noir.
Whilst knitting the Film-star fish tail dress (an archetypal film-star’s gown, restrictive and inviting) from used and discarded VHS tapes we discovered that the dust used on the tape is toxic. Feric-oxide and chromium dioxide are used on the tape and come off during the knitting process. We wanted to continue, so wearing protective clothing we carried on, not wanting to waste all our work.
The knitted tapes contain the imprint/memories of films and the animation humorously stitches together a swathe of renowned scream scenes giving voice to the toxic material being knitted. Visible and unnerving is how women are portrayed as helpless, hapless creatures subject to outbursts of madness. What is not visibile and the actual horror is the history behind the making of these films, (which continues #metoo), one sided conversation, threats, coercions, rape, unwanted touching, and the decisions about editing this can only be imagined.
The casting couch, the exchange of sexual favours by an employer or person in a position of power, from an employee, or subordinate in return for entry into an occupation, or for other career advancement within an organization.