The Way Things Go


The Way Things Go is a 30 minute film made by the Swiss artists Peter Fischli and David Weiss in 1987. Set in a vast warehouse, filled with a carefully positioned collection of household objects such as car tyres, ladders and oil drums, the film is in effect a very long chain reaction. One item topples over, which then triggers a car tyre to roll down a ramp, etc. There are also a few pyrotechnics along the way.

This is just a three minute extract from the film. If you visit the Icarus Films web site, they sell the full 30 minute film on DVD.

This ground breaking film has influenced many people since that time. Here we show just a few...

In 2003, a tv and cinema advertisement was created for the Honda Accord car. The advert was a great success and won several awards, although there was also controversy, since the producers of the original 'The Way Things Go' felt that their ideas had been plagiarised.

In 2010 the American band OK Go produced a video for their song 'This Too Shall Pass', which also pays homage to the original work of Fischli and Weiss.

Spare a thought for the camera operator in all these films!

Finally, the European department store Hema have created an animated web page, which also uses these ideas. Watch it here...

There are many other examples of films and videos in the world, all paying homage in one way or another to that original art film from 1987. Having said that, people with long memories will also remember the cartoon drawings of fantastic and improbable machines that performed simple actions in a complex way created by Heath Robinson and Rube Goldberg, which may well have inspired - to some extent at least - the work of Fischli and Weiss.

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