The way things go

The Way Things Go
Peter Fischli and David Weiss, 1987
Hirshhorn Museum

I went by the Hirshhorn a few weeks ago, and this was my favorite piece: a film depicting a slow-moving, low-budget Rube Goldberg apparatus built by artists Peter Fischli and David Weiss out of tires, candles, fuses, ramps, ladders, and random objects. I mean, what’s not to like about a flaming tetherball?

The purpose of the apparatus? Nothing, really, except to spin itself out. It’s pointlessly meditative. And I liked that – you could start watching the film at any point and stop at any point, as if you were watching waves on a beach, or crawling insects.

You can see the whole thing at the Hirshhorn, or if you’re really enamored of it, you can buy a copy here.


  1. #1 Larry Ayers
    September 28, 2008

    That was great! It must have been so much fun to contrive that sequence! Great ending, too.

  2. #2 merkin j pus-tart
    September 29, 2008

    My eight year old absolutely loved this . . .

  3. #3 eddie
    October 2, 2008

    I loved it and then hated myself for loving it. They must have a carbon footprint the size of a large third-world village.

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