Writer/ Director: Joshua Dawson
Cinematographer: Ashton Rae
Producers: Ashton Rae, Ian McClellan
Original Score by: M Russell Henson
Sound Design by: Ankur Agrawal

Colorist: Color Space Finishing
World Building/ Animation & VFX: Joshua Dawson
‘Denervation’ explores the concept of affective capital, examining the extensive commodification of beauty and youth and its impact on social hierarchies. Set in a fictional town, the film centers around the clandestine production of counterfeit Botox from a hazardous toxin, a metaphor for the moral compromises made in pursuit of aesthetic ideals.
The small-town setting underscores broader societal issues such as the exploitation of vulnerable groups and the inadequacies of regulatory frameworks. The narrative weaves together the connections between our built environment, social structures, and these ethical dilemmas, encouraging viewers to question cultural norms.
Key scenes set in the town’s plaza vividly depict the consequences of these unethical practices, particularly on the community’s daily life and the degradation of essential resources like clean air. ‘Denervation’ thus reveals the broader implications of such actions, highlighting our collective vulnerability to societal and environmental neglect.
The film plays out the subtle yet significant effects of these “dirty dealings”, drawing a stark connection to a larger narrative of societal and environmental deterioration, a cautionary tale of the far-reaching consequences of unethical practices under lax regulatory oversight.

While the narrative is influenced by a variety of academic texts and artworks, the project’s primary inspiration comes from the Scientific American article “Fake Botox, Real Threat,” by Ken Coleman and Raymond A. Zilinskas, that details the illegal drug market and its potential threats. Dana Berkowitz’s book, Botox Nation, which examines how norms about bodies, gender, and aging are constructed and reproduced on both cultural and individual levels. Other sources of inspiration for the world of Denervation include: The philosophical writing of Peter Sloterdijk’s spheres series. 

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