Rather than probing artists, art history, or the artmaking process, Barber asks us to think about the energies that thrum beneath and within all of these diverse elements. The result is a film that plays as a sort of flipside to works like Jem Cohen’s Museum Hours or Shane Carruth’s Upstream Color. It is every bit their equal, differently cerebral, and just as spellbinding.
Daredevils is artist, poet, and performer Stephanie Barber’s first feature-length film, and this expanded space becomes a repository for ideas for and about art, and for observations on interaction and interrelation. Here, the excitement of ideas, and of seeing, functions like the rising and falling of serotonin levels, moments of ecstasy leading to inevitably painful ends. Moments bend within that split second when happiness turns into melancholy on contact with the intellect.
DAREDEVILS is [Barber's] most elegant articulation yet of a self-conscious style alive to ideas and emotions, one through the other. As ever, the utter simplicity of presentations is all the more beguiling for the enormity of the endgame.