Ricardo Miranda Zúñiga

Structural Patterns

Reflections on Art, Technology and Society

Archive for the ‘The Way Things Go’ tag

OK GO versus Fischli and Weiss

without comments

I’m listening to an interview on NPR with the band OK GO talking about their new video featuring their “original” Rube Goldberg Machine. So I check out the video and see that it’s basically a rip off of “The Way Things Go” (1987) by Peter Fischli and David Weiss. Generally, I don’t use the term “rip off” and consider culture and ideas to be up for grabs, but when I hear the guy being interviewed say that to his knowledge there’s never been a Rube Goldberg Machine of the scale that they built, it just pisses me off.

Fischli Weiss – The Way Things Go, 1987
OK Go – This Too Shall Pass, 2010

Pop is cool, but it’s important to acknowledge precedents, particularly when they are more conceptually compelling. Fischli and Weiss primarily used house hold chemicals as the agents of force, to reflect on the strength and potential harm of these chemicals. The chemical reactions work with recycled goods to create the kinetic sculpture in time. “The Way Things Go” is an art classic, and it’s hard to believe that an arty pop band doesn’t know about the piece, particularly when the staging is so much of a replica. Also Fischli and Weiss’s version is much longer, about 15 minutes, more complex and didn’t cost $150K or use a team of engineers. It’s cool how the OK Go version is precisely timed with the music and they put themselves in it, but acknowledge where ideas come from! Judge for yourself (unfortunately, “The Way Things Go” is so long that only small portions are available).

Written by ricardo

April 30th, 2010 at 11:53 am