The most common interpretation is that “The Way Things Go” is a celebration of the extraordinariness of the ordinary, a celebration of everydayness, of the way things go. But it’s also about the way we make things go — for better or worse — whether we are creating a work of art or falling down a flight of stairs and landing on a cat or even standing still (“The Artist as Prime Mover” is what Arthur C. Danto called his essay on Fischli/Weiss). The forward motion of life, life as a chain reaction of cause and effect is predictable; it is a cliché. Whatever we do or don’t do, there will be cause and there will be effect. But as David Weiss once said in an interview, “There is something right about clichés.” In other words, there is truth in the predictable. We can predictably learn to make things happen in a way that is predictably successful. Through repetition and work we can finally get the paint can to knock over the ladder. And yet, how that happens, the way it happens, is somewhat more mysterious. “I’ve always found that astonishing…” David Weiss told Frieze, “the way people always laugh when the next thing falls over.”
more from Stefany Anne Golberg at The Smart Set here.