s DER TOTENTANZ - Swarm mag


The Dance of Death, der Totentanz or Danse Macabre is a medieval motif that was meant to remind the audience of the fragility and transience of their lives. Russian-born illustrator and video artist Sonya the Moon understands this theme as something very present due to the global pandemic situation.



When evolution reached a point where

single-celled organisms transformed

into multicellular bodies, Death was

born. Since then the great soul

harvest of Death has started and still

continues. Death is always walking



Thousands of years later, there lived a

girl who wanted to die more than she

wanted to breathe. Death heard her

prayers and came over to her.

– Dying is a form of art, do you want

me to school you in it? – said Death to the girl.

-Yes, please, was her reply.

And Death gave her a hand, inviting her to dance.

The girl touched the sticky fingers of Death and

regretted it immediately. Her neurons fired as she

tried to refrain from Death’s embrace. The girl

understood what a fool she used to be, wishing

for sweet relief of eternal sleep. But now she 

ceased to exist. Death took her last breath. And the

girl finally learned how does it feel – being a burial



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The golden-brown light crawled into a white room

through a hole in the curtain and kissed the girl

on her eyes. The girl sat in her bad, naked and

worried. She had a strange dream that gave her

feelings she couldn’t explain even to herself. But

being alive felt beyond perfect, like never before.

Her hands were cold, she looked at them and found

earth beneath her nails.

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BIO / Sonya the Moon is primarily an illustrator but works with almost all artistic media. She was born in Russia and has been living in Prague, the Czech Republic, for seven years now. Currently, she studies at the Sculpture Studio at Prague’s UMPRUM and prior to that graduated from Charles University’s Faculty of Humanities.

At some point in her life, Sonya even studied applied physics but her love for drawing was stronger than her passion for algorithms and formulas. When she was a kid she used to go to the church with her relatives but the only things she liked about it were the wall paintings and icons. When singing in a church choir once, she was told that it is a sin to draw God, saints and related “stuff” but “what is life without a good portion of mischief?” Sonya’s style was basically shaped by medieval art. She thoroughly studied Christian iconography and the Bible in general but does not consider herself a religious person. She has her own set of beliefs and claims that her art is a critique of established religious norms, and also draws inspiration from medieval art, occultism and old traditions.



Text, concept / Sonya the Moon @sonyathemoon

Death / Vlado Afanasiev

Camera / Sasha Salangan

The text used in the video subtitles was taken from the Old Testament, Chapter 3 of the Ecclesiastes.