Wednesday, August 12, 2009

An Awesome Video - Art or Physics or Chemistry?

This video is amazing. Only about a half an hour. You can get it from First Run Films. It's actually an art film, but the entire film is watching physics/chemistry as an installation. Here is a more clear definition of it from Wikipedia:

The Way Things Go (German: Der Lauf der Dinge) is a 1987 art film by the Swiss artist duo Peter Fischli and David Weiss. It documents a long causal chain assembled of everyday objects, resembling a Rube Goldberg machine.

The machine is in a warehouse, about 100 feet long, and incorporates materials such as tires, trash bags, ladders, soap, oil drums, and gasoline. Fire and pyrotechnics are used as chemical triggers. The film is nearly 29 minutes, 45 seconds long, but some of that is waiting for something to burn, or slowly slide down a ramp.

The film evolved out of work the artists did on their earlier photography series, "Quiet afternoon," (German: Stiller Nachmittag) of 1984-1985. As the delicately unstable assemblages they constructed for the photos were apt to almost immediately collapse, they decided that they wanted to make use of this energy.[1] The film may also have been inspired by the video work of fellow Swiss artist, Roman Signer. The artists undoubtably saw his video work which was exhibited at the Kunsthaus Zürich in 1981.[2] Signer's videos often document objects performing simple actions that are the result of physical phenomena.

And here's a little video "teaser".

Anyway, this video is great entertainment for adults. However, it is rated G, and so I let my kids watch it. My 2-yo especially loves it - they get to watch one video every Wednesday and he always begs for it to be The Way Things Go.

Of course, it just so happens to be educational - but it's accidental, so it brings up questions about what the materials are, etc. without answering them (thank God). But it is quite an inspiration, IMO. Makes me want to go build my own weird obstacle-course/installation-type thing.

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