The Skullcracker Suite is an inter-disciplinary artistic research project by John Cussans.
BC Time-Slip (The Empire Never Ended) began at Dynamo Arts Association in Vancouver, British Columbia in August 2016. For the duration of the one month residency John Cussans set up a special investigations bureau in the gallery, using it as the operational base for an inquiry into the story of the science fiction writer Philip K. Dick’s visit to Vancouver in 1972 to speak at a Science Fiction Convention, and his stay, after an attempted suicide, at the X-Kalay Foundation, a First Nations ex-con and addiction rehabilitation centre established by the David Berner.
During the Dynamo residency I worked with the artists John Cussans and Stephanie Moran to produce a series of photospheres based on events associated with Dick’s stay in Vancouver.
In September 2016 the Skullcracker team were invited, through Steve Calvert and Beau Dick, to attend the potlatch ceremony of Kwakwaka’wakw Chief Alan Hunt at the Tsaxis Big House, Fort Rupert. Alan, like Beau, is a master carver, dancer and singer whose work is represented by the Fazakas Gallery in Vancouver.
Steve Calvert, John Cussans, Stephanie Moran and myself were graciously allowed to document much of the 14 hour ceremony, which included the dance of the giant cannibal birds, the initiation of Chief Hunt’s brother Jaden into the Hamatsa secret society, and the dancing of several new masks recently created by Beau and Alan. This was an incredible honour for us all, to which we offer our sincerest thanks to Alan, Beau and Steve. From the footage gathered at the events John Cussans have completed an edit of the ceremony which has been passed on to Alan to use for educational purposes in the Alert Bay and Fort Rupert communities.