Cartoon Burial


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video and sound
duration: 13 min

Stations of the Cross, St Stephen Walbrook, London, 2017
Stations 2020, Arts Chaplaincy Projects, 2020

Laura Moffatt, ‘Stations of the Cross and Resurrection’, Art & Christianity, No 90, Summer 2017
Muriel Zagha, ‘From Psycho to Transcendence’, Elephant, 2017
Stations of the Cross | Stations of the Resurrection, Stations 2017, catalogue, ISBN 978-1-5272-0874-2s 

from the series Stations of the Cross

© acknowledgements:
Come Down To Us (Burial) 
Raphael, Study for the Pala Baglione 
Google maps image of Jerusalem 

Commentary by Lucy Newman Cleeve for Stations 2020

The Fourteenth Station:  Jesus is laid in the tomb

In Cartoon Burial, Dean layers Raphael’s study for the Pala Baglione (also known as The Deposition or The Entombment) over a Googlemaps image of Jerusalem. For the first time, the work is explicitly located in a real person, in a specific place, at a precise moment in history. The soundtrack is provided by ‘Come Down To Us’ by South London sound-collagist, Burial. 

The image is originally unclear. A close up of human limbs is faintly discernible, which becomes clearer as the drawing gradually descends within the frame. The audio track begins with the sample of a woman’s voice saying, “Excuse me, I’m lost” and then builds through layer upon layer of multi-textured samples, including voice snippets repeating phrases such as “You are not alone” and, “Don’t be afraid to step into the unknown”. The initial illegibility of the image becomes clearer as the work progresses as if to answer the vocal snippets asking, “Who are you? Why did you come to me?” In some sections, the track sounds almost like contemporary worship music.

The Burial track ends with an extract from a speech by transgender filmmaker Lana Wachowski: “Without examples, without models I began to believe voices in my head, that I am a freak, that I am broken, that there is something wrong with me, that I will never be lovable. Years later, I find the courage to admit that I am transgender, and that does not mean that I am unlovable… This world that we imagine in this room might be used to gain access to other rooms, other worlds, previously unimaginable.” Its inclusion here could be understood as a political statement addressing current debates within the church over the role of gay clergy, and its treatment of the LGBT community, or a simple statement of inclusion addressed to those ‘in this room’ — that is, the viewers of the Stations of the Cross, watching online, alone and together.