Wednesday, July 23, 2008

For a day when nothing seems to go right

Teakettles. Tires. Old shoes. Tin cans. Balloons. Rockets. Boats. Cars. Levers. Ladders. Fire. Water. Smoke. Mist. Physics. Chemistry. Equilibrium. Gravity.

A bunch of nouns, yes, but also components in the fascinating The Way Things Go. Artists set up an enormous chain-reaction of everyday junk, with a little chemistry and pyrotechnics thrown in, and let it go. And go. And go. Just when you think "ah it's stopped"... something else happens. The SFMOMA had this running on a loop in their gift shop, and it always drew a crowd, just watching bottles tip, boards teeter, and tires roll uphill.

Amazingly planned, and worth a rental. Suddenly, changing a typewriter ribbon doesn't seem like that big a deal.


Oliver said...

The pyromaniac in me approves! I could totally watch stuff like that all day.

Apparently the guys who made this tried to sue Honda when the very similar "Cog" advert came out. I'm not sure how one Rube Goldberg derivative can sue another Rube Goldberg derivative for being too derivative of their derivation. "That's my pointless series of unexpected interactions!" "No, that's my pointless series of unexpected interactions!"

mpclemens said...

The "cog" ad is smooth and very sleek compared to the other video. There's never really any doubt that the cog parts are going to do the right thing. TWTG is a good deal rougher around the edges (as the clip shows) and there are some suspenseful moments in there when you think it's gone Horribly Wrong.

I suppose there might be some significance to the fact that this was my favorite short film growing up.