Joshua Ashish Dawson’s animated short, Denervation, starts with the idea of a horrific catastrophe and presents the event’s outcome while commenting on class and culture. The exclusive resort, Sybarite Spa, is the fountain of youth for the world’s social elite. The spa’s secret is its expert application of Botox. Its entire supply of the youth-inducing toxin comes from a small town, whose entire economy is based on producing top-line Botox.
“…increased production of Botox resulted in a massive outbreak of airborne botulism.”
The town’s increased production of Botox resulted in a massive outbreak of airborne botulism. But that didn’t stop the town’s production of Botox, as the townsfolk now don protective masks and clothing as there is no longer any breathable air. Denervation takes on a tour of the altered lives of the town’s residents. The five-minute short contrasts the lives of these lower-class workers against the higher-class clients of Sybarite Spa.
Dawson’s animation style feels like a high-end video game. It’s entirely computer-generated, and he’s created a fully realized town, deteriorating environment, and life-like human citizens perpetually connected to fresh air tanks. Though the images are not quite life-like or photo-realistic, the imagery is authentic enough and quite haunting. It gave me vibes of 12 Monkeys. There’s no formal narrative to Denervation. We’re instead given a chance to walk through the streets of this town and observe the devastation. Denervation might make for a good VR experience.