Der Lauf Der Dinge (The Way Things Go), 1987

Peter Fischli + David Weiss

February 11, 2015May 24, 2015

Color video with sound

Swiss artists Peter Fischli (1952, Zürich) and David Weiss (1946–2012, Zürich) collaborated for over 30 years, producing an extensive and diverse body of work including films, sculptures, installations, and books. Fischli and Weiss are known for their use of humble materials, love of the absurd, and embrace of chance. Characterized by playfulness and rooted in the details of everyday objects and situations, The Way Things Go shows mundane items such as balloons, tires, and plastic bottles, animated in a long, seemingly continuous chain of events driven by gravity, collisions, and chemical reactions.

The video is the result of a two-year process of trial and error by the artists during which they planned and tested the sequence. Although it appears to be one seamless progression, the work was shot in at least twelve takes by the artists. Like a Rube Goldberg machine, in which a simple act is executed by an unnecessarily complex chain reaction, The Way things Go is an exercise in anticipation (without finale). The action is always in-progress, the proceedings teetering forever on the brink of disaster. Although what we witness is simply the displacement of kinetic energy, this piece seems to embody a restless, probing consciousness that pushes things forward, a quality at the heart of process-based art making. The Way Things Go mimics the very nature of invention; ingenuity in the service of progress that builds momentum for future progress without pause.

Ground floor installations at MOCA Cleveland are made possible through the generous support of Joanne Cohen and Morris Wheeler, and Margaret Cohen and Kevin Rahilly.