Film screening: The Way Things Go

Peter Fischli and David Weiss

12.08 - 10.09 2023

Tire wheel with sparks around. Still image from the film The Way Things Go.

Inside a warehouse, a precarious 70-100 feet long structure has been constructed using various items. When this is set in motion, a chain reaction ensues. Fire, water, law of gravity as well as chemistry determine the life-cycle of objects - of things. It brings about a story concerning cause and effect, mechanism and art, improbability and precision.

In preparation for this film, Fischli and Weiss worked for a full year to perfect a series of chain reactions in which objects would topple, burst, burn, and smoke, shifting kinetic energy from one to the next. This film originated in a series of photographs, called Equilibres, that the duo created in 1984 and 1987, which take precariously balanced industrial objects as their subjects. The camera minimizes differences in scale—for example, between a barrel and a balloon—and the objects take the place of human actors, who are nowhere to be found.

The Way Things Go builds on modern art's investigation of the space between high art and the everyday. The film was shot in a stark warehouse, and automobile tires, garbage bags, and plastic water jugs take center stage, rolling, twisting, and exploding in what seems to be an unbroken, thirty-minute sequence of events. The film is an absurdist feat; Fischli and Weiss's devotion to detritus injects a burst of humor into the high-minded seriousness of the art world.


Peter Fischli (born 8 June 1952) and David Weiss (21 June 1946 – 27 April 2012), often shortened to Fischli/Weiss, were a Swiss artist duo that collaborated beginning in 1979. Their best-known work is the film Der Lauf der Dinge (The Way Things Go, 1987), described by The Guardian as being "post apocalyptic", as it concerned chain reactions and the ways in which objects flew, crashed and exploded across the studio in which it was shot. Fischli lives and works in Zürich; Weiss died on 27 April 2012.

Date: 1987
Medium: Color video, transferred from 16 mm film, with sound
Duration: 30 min

Opening hours: 
Saturdays & Sundays
12.00 - 16.00