Hans Richter – Rhythm 23

Early animated film from 1923

quote taken from The Getty Iris:

“Simple, stark, and short, Rhythmus 21 is a self-conscious meditation on the limits of the medium. It has no figurative representations—neither people nor flowers, and no animals, arrows, or ships at sea. Instead it plays with optical effects of simple shapes: circles, squares, rectangles, lines. For Richter, film, not music, seemed to be the best medium for conveying the art of rhythm.”

  • The film is a play of relationships of light.
  • The relationships of light have both qualitative and quantitative character: degree of brightness, proportions, etc., etc.
  • The forms that emerge are, de facto, l i m i t s of processes in different dimensions (or of dimensions in a different temporal sequence). . . .
  • The true means of construction is light—the intensity and quantity of light.
  • The task for the whole is to shape the nature of the light—in the sense of a comprehensive perceptibility. . . .
  • The forms that emerge are n e i t h e r analogies nor symbols nor means to beauty.
  • In its sequence of events (its screening), this film communicates very authentically the relationships of tension and contrast in the light. These relationships consist of light and dark, small and large, slow and fast, horizontal and vertical, etc., etc.
  • An attempt has been made to organize the film such that the individual parts stand in active tension to one another and to the whole, such that the whole remains intellectually [geistig] mobile within itself.
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