Doug Barron as the Father
Dan Snow as the Slave Trader/ Malevolent Messiah
Ladyfag as herself
Fernando Otero as himself
David Dixon as the Son
After seeing the ancestral skulls of the Asmat people at the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris, I had the distinct desire to posses my own recently deceased mother’s skull. Frightening images of Hitchcock’s Psycho immediately came to mind, but after some research into traditions of death ritual I came to understand that my desire was not so perverse, nor so distant. As recently as the early 20th century, Christian missionaries were still eliminating the practice of ancestral skull veneration in central Africa and New Guinea. David Dixon is dead. takes as a starting point the revival of ancestral skull preservation as an option for our own secular culture.
I was born in 1968, the year Roland Barthes wrote his famous essay ‘Death of the Author’, making artist/authors of my generation the first to be, paradoxically, born dead. Therefore, it is not coincidental that it should be left to us to develop new paradigms of death ritual. Currently, it is culturally acceptable to preserve and collect human skulls that are to be used as specimens for “disinterested” scientific investigation. My work expands this established norm by maintaining a relationship between the skull and its specific lived history – its identity – with the expressed hope that respect fostered by close proximity to the dead could undermine inhumanity in life.
**David Dixon is dead. won Best Feature Film in the 2012 Queens World Film Festival.