Artblog Celebrating 20 Years!   Support Us Today!

That’s entertainment–and advertising


Fischli and Weiss
From Fischli and Weiss’ The Way Things Go, 1987, done with everyday materials

While I’m yacking on about advertising borrowing from art (see posts here, here bottom and the item from John Caperton here), what should come over the transom but this ad from Honda that’s a complete rip on Fischli and Weiss’ fabulous video The Way Things Go. It’s also a tribute, except Honda completely didn’t bother to attribute.

The claim that the Honda video was not computer-generated seems utterly beside the point if taken in the context of the 1987 Rube Goldbergian concatenation of events from Fischli and Weiss. The Way Things Go (a.k.a. The Way of Things, depending on who’s translating) has existential content about coincidence, lack of control, the power of creativity and planning in the face of overwhelming odds against, the value in even crummy things, etc.

Honda ad still, done with what seem to be Honda parts and other high-tech materials

The Honda video, with its high-tech, expensive set-up says nothing more than Honda is well-designed and clever. In other words, it never rises above an ad. But I wonder if The Way Things Go will lose its visual zing and then its content, just as Alex Katz has, thanks to the familiarity created by its dumbed-down translation in the marketplace.

Either way, I thought you might enjoy revisiting The Way Things Go because it’s great, and also the Honda ad both for comparison and the sheer pleasure of entertainment and the slick production values.