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 is a film set in a society that believes that aging is an illness, creating an “affective capital” that maps onto and intensifies the existing social hierarchies. An exclusive wellness retreat thrives off an industry town from which its primary beauty product is sourced. Working in a regulatory blind spot, the town produces an unauthorized surfeit of the product. The proliferation of this counterfeit botox has made its source toxin, Botulinum toxin A (deadly in sufficient quantities), far too easily available. This poses a significant biological threat to the townspeople. 
Denervation dramatizes the supply-and-demand chain through this exaggerated fiction, giving us a glimpse of the hypothetical lives of the town’s residents. This method of speculation frames this scenario as an architectural problem that taps into the narrative design potential for this metaphorical world.
Every human body is marked by cultural norms and social practices external to them. What varies is the extent to which technology is embedded in these systems — and the ways in which bodies and selves are subject to class and other inequalities.
​​​​​​​Using the town’s plaza space to play out the repercussions, Denervation dramatizes the impact of this unsecured supply chain, giving us a glimpse of the lives of the town’s residents. It aims to demonstrate how the most valuable commodity isn’t the counterfeit product or the final end-user, but an oft-overlooked one: the air we breathe, the very basis of our survival.

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. 

This film, Denervation, will push the boundaries of architectural storytelling both technically and discursively. By prototyping this alternative world of tomorrow, we can shed light on a humanitarian issue through the filmmaker’s controlled frame. The integration of design and fiction supplies us with one of our most powerful weapons in the fight to galvanize the public: a way to shed light on fundamental issues by rendering the theoretical as something that feels all too real. 
The fashion photography of Melvin Sokolsky’s "Bubble" series of photographs depicting fashion models "floating" in giant clear plastic bubbles. The architectural designs build on the experimental work of Haus Rucker, Ant Farm, and Coop Himmelblau. The film also seeks inspiration from the art of Hieronymus Bosch’s triptych piece, The Garden of Earthly Delights.

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