The Way Things Go: Fischli & Weiss’ film installation masterpiece

This post is long overdue and hasn’t come out anywhere near what I intended. I meant to write up my review of this year’s WOMAD music festival, complete with euphoric musings about the music guaranteed to rip your metaphorical bodices to shreds. But, as it happens, one thing lead to another, and I just never got round to it. Instead, I’ll limit myself to sharing with you my absolute highlight from the festival: a film installation called The Ways Things Go, by Swiss artists Peter Fischli and David Weiss.

It is, without any hesitation, one of the most spectacular things I’ve seen. A mesmerising masterpiece. Perfect in its conception, design and staging. You may have seen the Honda Accord ad it inspired (, or the one for GoldieBlox ( But believe me: accept no substitutes. This is the real deal. A mind-boggling, jaw-dropping meditation on cause and effect, in which “a series of everyday objects and machine parts roll, topple, burn, spill or otherwise propel themselves forwards to create an extended chain reaction of miraculous cause and effect…[creating] the illusion that the objects have mysteriously achieved independence from human control…” (The Guardian, 30 April 2012).

We live in a world where there are lots of things constantly fighting for our attention. Most of it is shit and can be usefully ignored. But take the time to watch this. Experience it. Let it wash over you. All I can say is that I was thrilled and moved beyond adequate description.


About Darwin Franks

Filmmaker, Cinephile, Writer, Athiest, Civil Servant

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