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Fischli and Weiss: The Way Things Go

The Way Things Go (Der Lauf der Dinge, 1987) is a thirty-minute film by Swiss artists Peter Fischli and David Weiss featuring a series of chain reactions involving ordinary objects. It is also one of the truly wonderful works of art produced in the late twentieth century. The film embodies many of the qualities that make Fischli and Weiss’s work among the most captivating in the world today: slapstick humour and profound insight; a forensic attention to detail; a sense of illusion and transformation; and the dynamic exchange between states of order and chaos. As everyday objects crash, scrape, slide or fly into one another with devastating, impossible and persuasive effect, viewers find themselves witnessing a spectacle that seems at once prehistoric and post-apocalyptic. Millar tells us why this extraordinary film speaks to us at the beginning of the twenty-first century. If history is ‘just one thing after another’, then The Way Things Go is truly a historic work.