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Fischli & Weiss «The Way of Things»
Fischli & Weiss, «The Way of Things», 1987
© Fischli & Weiss

Fischli & Weiss «The Way of Things»Fischli & Weiss «The Way of Things» | play video

Categories: Video

Keywords: Material | Process

29' | video tape

 Fischli & Weiss
«The Way of Things»

Naturally, this tape is also concerned with the problem of guilt and innocence. An object must be blamed for not proceeding further, and also for proceeding further.
‘An unambiguously CORRECT result of experiments exists; this is obtained when it works, when this construction collapses. Then again, there is a BEAUTIFUL which ranks above the CORRECT; this is obtained when it's a close shave or the construction collapses the way we want it to – slowly and intricately, that is, a beautiful collapse. The aesthetic layer on top of a function is like the butter on a sandwich – rather thin and smooth. The wrong result is obtained when things get going of their own accord, and the wrong result is obtained when they don't get going at all. The CORRECT range (which in terms of moral theology might also be called GOOD) is, in our view, incredibly narrow. Similarly, GOOD and EVIL are often very close, for example when the candle on the swing sets fire to the detonating fuse. Because they are nice and childish, the candle and the swing tend towards the good, whereas the detonating fuse is evil because you don't need it for harmless things. On the other hand, every object in our installation is good if it functions, because it then liberates its successor, gives it the chance of development. Not destructive in that sense.'

This experimental artistic setup with very mundane everyday objects is a chain reaction, a controlled happening based on the laws of physics and chemistry, on the inevitability and chance inherent in a precarious situation that might also be termed an ‘order of fluctuations'. The camera itself, fascinated, observes an event ‘taking its course' and documents a half-hour process with (practically) no edits. The videotape by Fischli/Weiss turned out to be an audience favourite at the ‘documenta 8' in Kassel.