video stills
Courtesy the artists

Thirty-six is the smallest triangular square number (6 x 6 = 36; 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 + 8 = 36) and has an important status in number symbolism. This two-minute video by Norbert Pfaffenbichler & Lotte Schreiber, which refers back to the abstract films by Hans Richter or Walter Ruttmann, is based on this number. Synchronized with the soundtrack by Stefan Németh, which is based on repeated beeping noises, orthogonal patterns form within three frames. In the square black frame on the left, there are 36 white bars that move at first according to the principle of a binary system (vertical/horizontal), before finally coming together as squares upon which amorphous shapes are manifested. In the right-hand frame, we see a constantly changing colored grid that also undergoes a process of concentration towards the end. Beneath these two frames, a square wanders slowly to the right—it is an indicator that is like a scrollbar, which shows the progress of the video and visually heralds the end: the simultaneous collapse of image and sound.


  • original Title: 36
  • Date: 2001
  • Duration: 2′
  • Genre: Short film

This work is issued in following texts