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The Makers

Work by these filmmakers will be screened at this year's Yoni Fest. 

Daria Blum

Daria Blum is a Swiss Canadian video, music, and performance artist, based in London. She received her BA in Fine Art from Central Saint Martins, after studying at École Parsons à Paris, the University of the Arts in Berlin, and the Royal Academy of the Arts in The Hague. Daria is a 2017 MullenLowe NOVA Awards nominee and has exhibited and performed—both as herself and as her alter ego EUROBITCH—in the United Kingdom, Europe, and North America. She most recently exhibited at Xpace Gallery in Toronto, Canada, and performed in England on the London Underground for Word in Transit, during Art Licks Weekend. She continues to exhibit across the UK as part of an artist collective, and her video work has been selected for the upcoming exhibition at Kunstmuseum Luzern in Switzerland this December.

Daria's short films depict various emotional struggles and the coping mechanisms which we develop and employ—with varying degrees of success—in our desire to balance and manage internal and external stresses or trauma. The characters she slips into are, at times, comic and, at other times, verge on the tragic. Humor and tragedy go hand in hand as her female alter egos embrace their failures, weaknesses and vulnerabilities, and upend and implement them as tools for empowerment.

Her film "i am ready" is a short video piece, limited to a frontal view of a ballet dancer’s head, neck and shoulders, as she struggles to stay composed while spinning in a continuous circle to an awkwardly-rendered soundtrack. The accompanying melody, sung, whistled and hummed by the artist, is a rendition of "The Swan" by Camille Saint-Saëns. The Russian choreographer Mikhail Fokine utilized it for the famous ballet solo "The Dying Swan," which he created for ballerina Anna Pavlova in 1905.

 still from I Am Ready 

still from I Am Ready 

The film explores the striving for flawlessness inherent to classical ballet, and hones in on the suffering necessary to reach a point of perfection. An intact performance is expected of a dancer when they step out onto the stage and, finally, execute a piece in accordance with the high standards the artist, the choreographer, and the audience demand. Dancers, not unlike masochists, stage fantasies that create temporary realities, implementing methods such as repetition and disavowal to achieve this. A dancer will rehearse a movement over and over again, and perform with an untroubled, even elated facial expression, while denying categorically any struggle.

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McKenna Stephens