This film was done in 1987 by Swiss artists Peter Fischli and David Weiss, and has been exhibited in many prominent museums, and is on permanent display at the Museum of Modern Art, in New York. The above is a three minute snipet from the original which is thirty minutes long.
It is a Rube Goldberg type affair, though their stated influence is Roman Signer, a Swiss visual artist. I wondered when watching this if they knew of Rube Goldberg, as he predates them. I don’t know. What I do know is that I found it difficult to sit through three minutes of this, forget about thirty.
Why? Because I have seen so much of this already. As a matter of fact, my best friend, well respected science teacher in L.A. Unified School District, holds a Rube Goldberg event each year where her students construct their own inventions. I’ve been hearing about this for almost thirty years now. So, another question could be, When is it art?
The best parts, for me, were the fire, explosions and other chemical reactions. These things are fun and entertaining, as long as bodily injury and death aren’t a result. So, if fun is art, then this qualifies.
Is it art? Well, they are and were artists (Weiss died in 2012). This is the eternal question, isn’t it? What is art. Art is in the eye of the beholder. Oh wait, that’s beauty. Anyway, art is so vague and ill defined. A child’s scribble, a Picasso, a Ferrari, Haagen-Dazs.
Has it influenced other artists? Probably. Maybe other Swiss artists that never heard of Rube Goldberg.
So many questions about art. Does art have any answers? I don’t know. I am an artist. I like to question, but I don’t care about answers. Life is a mystery, and if someone finds the answer to it, then it wouldn’t be a mystery anymore.
And that wouldn’t be any fun, at all.