Digits of Pi

Pi meets Duchamp in a transcendental film!

Inspired by Marcel Duchamp's “Anemic Cinema,” I set out to create a film composed within a circular frame. This circular composition led directly to using the number pi for the underlying structure.

Having the digits of pi sung on the soundtrack is an homage to “Einstein on the Beach” by Philip Glass and Robert Wilson.

  • Tom Bessoir
  • Joshua Pines
  • William Shanks
  • Tom Bessoir
  • Joshua Pines
  • Jahna Rain
  • Tom Bessoir
  • Project Type:
    Animation, Experimental, Short
  • Runtime:
    3 minutes 14 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    March 14, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    500 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
    Black & White and Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Distribution Information
  • The Film-Makers Cooperative
    Country: Worldwide
Director Biography - Tom Bessoir, Joshua Pines

Tom was born and raised in the Astoria section of Queens in New York City in 1957. From there he commuted by subway to attended The Bronx High School of Science. Tom studied mathematics and electrical engineering at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. While attending the Engineering School, he took advantage of Art School classes, focusing on film theory and studying experimental filmmaking with Robert Breer. In the late 1970s, he started photographing the downtown music scene. His photographs have appeared on dozens of records as well as in films, books, magazines, and newspapers.

Tom Bessoir’s experimental films often use mathematics to explore perception and the structure of film.

In the arts, Tom Bessoir is best known for Microfilm (1979), Digits of Pi (2019), and his photography documenting downtown NYC.

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Director Statement

Tom and Josh met when they were both studying electrical engineering, mathematics, and art at The Cooper Union.

Recently they co-authored the mathematics paper "Scrabble Seven-letter Words."