Order Is Numbers

HD video (b/w, sound)
84 minutes, looped

In Order Is Numbers, Darren Aronofsky’s 1998 science fiction film Pi is modified into a continuous black image, only interrupted by film frames that correspond in number and location to the Fibonacci numbers (0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34 ….). The length of the film and the exponential growth rate of the Fibonacci sequence allow only 25 frames, and all but 6 of these appear in the first 3 minutes. At 1/25 frame per second, each frame is but a flicker, barely registered by the viewer’s eye.

The film centers on Maximillian (“Max”) Cohen, whose obsession with discovering the underlying pattern within the chaos of the stock market gradually leads to self-destructive behavior. The number “pi”, the Fibonacci sequence, and the golden ratio are intimately connected in the film as mathematical proofs in Max’s search for the ultimate order and pattern and their commonalities in apparently chaotic systems.

Gaviria’s self-reflexive visual study is a time-based code that matches the exact scheme Max Cohen seeks and is thus a mirroring of one code within another. In its altered format, the film renders a reconstruction of the original 84-minute narrative from just a few scattered images as daunting and indeed perhaps as contrived as Max Cohen’s personal search for patterned order in chaos. Ultimately, Gaviria’s treatment of the film is a reassertion that the line between order and chaos is both subjective and tenuous and also one of our own making with no intrinsic meaning outside of the meaning we choose to impose on it.