Inside a warehouse, Swiss artists Peter Fischli (b. 1952) and David Weiss (1946–2012) built an enormous, precarious structure 100 feet long made out of common household items: tea kettles, tires, old shoes, balloons, wooden ramps, etc. Then, with fire, water, gravity and chemistry, they created a spectacular chain reaction, a self-destructing performance of physical interactions, chemical reactions, and precisely crafted chaos worthy of Rube Goldberg or Alfred Hitchcock.
Fischli and Weiss have collaborated on kinetic installations since 1979. All of their work to date, whether in photography, film, drawing, or sculpture, has demonstrated a deep interest in the mechanisms that animate the universe of objects. They remove these things that surround us from their contexts in our daily lives, and then restructure their relationships to one another. The artists aim neither to glorify nor to alienate these common objects, but merely to create new references in which they might be considered.
Called "the merry pranksters of contemporary art" (The New York Times), Fischli and Weiss collaborated for 33 years, drawing worldwide notoriety and praise for taking on big questions with humble materials and a tongue-in-cheek manner. THE WAY THINGS GO, newly restored and now on Blu-ray for the first time, remains their most acclaimed and beloved work.
"Their masterpiece to date... Using elemental means - fire and fireworks, blasts of air, gravity, and a variety of corrosive liquids - the artists manage to sustain a chain reaction of evermore absurd materials and events for 30 minutes." —New York Times
"'Ingenius' and 'amazing' are apt descriptions of this non-narrated Swiss production... The camera captures the finely tuned, continuous motion in this fascinating program for science students and other interested viewers." —Sue-Ellen Beauregard, Booklist
"One of the best films of 1987-88 didn't appear on anybody's top ten list. It wasn't featured on 'Siskel and Ebert' and it didn't receive a single Academy Award nomination (although it would be hard to categorize a film in which the 'best supporting' roles were foam and fire)." —Arts Magazine
"This rudimentary yet showy masterpiece would have made Picasso envious." —Flashart
"The film has an irresistible appeal... One cannot help but wonder at the work that must have been involved in each relatively simple action and reaction. How did they do it?" —Chicago Tribune
"**** [4 Stars - Highly Recommended] The fact that this chain reaction is sustained for 30 minutes is both amusing and amazing... Viewers whose familiarity with physics is limited may miss the import of some of the clever inventions, but the artistic merits are clear... Libraries with large experimental art collections will not be disappointed." —Carole Dratch-Kovler, Video Rating Guide for Libraries
Gold Apple, 1990 National Educational Film & Video Festival
1989 San Francisco Film Festival
1988 Berlin Film Festival
1988 Sydney Film Festival
1988 Hong Kong Film Festival
"THE WAY THINGS GO is so unique I'll be surprised if the audience doesn't demand it be shown again before leaving the theater... Every once in a while a film comes along that is so unusual that it overwhelms one - and THE WAY THINGS GO is one." —John Douglas, Grand Rapids Press
"A post-modern Rube Goldberg illustration come to life, THE WAY THINGS GO is an art title sure to impress." —Barbara Wexler, Video Business