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The Perfect Square

Film still from Gernot Wieland’s film “The Perfect Square”. A painting of two figures: the one below stands and holds the other one up, and they are holding an object in the shape of a square.
© Videoart at Midnight Productions, Fluentum
  • Director

    Gernot Wieland

  • Germany, Belgium / 2024
    8 min. / Original version with English subtitles

  • Original language


For twelve years, Gernot Wieland worked with an animal trainer who taught birds to fly in circles or squares. The film initially concentrates on the birds themselves. The image, reduced to the birds flying in and out of the frame, suggests how one might perceive one’s own flickering consciousness and perception. The volatile quality of trying to capture flying birds in frame intensifies the desire to confirm whether the birds indeed fly in a circle. Whereas the indexical image captured by the camera is a testament to the difficulty of training the birds to do something on command, the title of the work itself invokes the intellectual purity of geometric forms, considered superior by analytic philosophy to describe the laws of nature. All this implies that beings that disobey a command could be a definition of an “other.”
The film also refers to an experimental investigation conducted by Kandinsky in 1923. He had assumed that there are direct correspondences between primary colors (yellow, red, blue) and forms (triangle, square, circle). It is by these means that The Perfect Square explores the question of how aesthetic and social norms influence and control our society and our artistic creation, as well as the western view of the world.
Maxwell Stephens

Gernot Wieland has exhibited works in museums such as KINDL – Centre, Berlin; Künstlerhaus Bremen; Torrance Art Museum, Los Angeles; Kunstmuseum Bonn; Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen; Salzburger Kunstverein, and at festivals such as International Short Film Festival Oberhausen; Videonale; IndieLisboa; European Media Art Festival; Kasseler Dokfest; International Short Film Festival, Hamburg; IFFR – Rotterdam; and TIFF – Toronto International Film Festival. Recent awards include Aus-blicke Award at blicke Filmfestival; Main Award of the German Competition at the 69th International Short Film Festival, Oberhausen; and the German Short Film Award.

Production Gernot Wieland, Konstantin von Sichart. Production companies Videoart at Midnight Productions (Berlin, Germany), Fluentum (Berlin, Germany), Tannenbaum Films (Berlin, Germany), Argos Centre for Audiovisual Arts (Brüssel, Belgium). Director Gernot Wieland. Screenplay Maxwell Stephens, Clara Sharell, Gernot Wieland. Cinematography Konstantin von Sichart. Editing Konstantin von Sichart, Gernot Wieland. Music Konstantin von Sichart, Gernot Wieland. Sound mixing Joseph Varschen. Animation Konstantin von Sichart. Colour correction Konstantin von Sichart. Executive producer Olaf Stüber, Markus Hannebauer. With Rudolf Körner.

World sales Arsenal – Institut für Film und Videokunst e.V, Argos Centre for Audiovisual Arts

Films: 2011: Portrait of Karl Marx as a young god (1 min.). 2016: “Hello, my name is…”…and…“Yes, I'm fine.” (18 min.), Thievery and Songs (23 min.). 2018: Ink in Milk (13 min.). 2021: Bird in Italian is Uccello (14 min.). 2023: Turtleneck Phantasies (18 min.). 2024: The Perfect Square.

Bonus Material

  • Film still from Gernot Wieland’s film “The Perfect Square”. A clean, tiled floor, metal table and plastic chair legs, a cream tablecloth with patterns of blue roses.

    TED Talk

    Gernot Wieland’s 2016 talk, “Depression in Animals,” examined the relationship between humans and animals and its history of control and power,

  • Film still from Gernot Wieland’s film “The Perfect Square”. An animated road with factories in the distance.


Program Schedule

Funded by:

  • Logo Minister of State for Culture and the Media
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