Ever since the Swiss artist-duo Peter Fischli & David Weiss came into contention with Honda over their appropriation of the likeness of Fischli & Weiss’s 1987 Der Lauf der Dinge to create an advertisement for an Accord vehicle in 2003, it seems you can find their likeness everywhere you look.
“Morning Mister Breakfast!”
Of course, Rube Goldberg machines, or the absurdly simple mechanism/s which give life to these scenes, are nothing new: keep in mind that Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure came out over a year before the Fischli & Weiss art film, and popularised an already popular concept in the opening scene with a Goldbergian machine making breakfast for our suit-clad protagonist.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s no doubt that the fine folk at Wieden+Kennedy in London who developed the “Cog” ad were aware of the work of Fischli & Weiss and their appropriation of it. It’s clear they watched it many-times through, and thought it as awesome as I do, or rather, wicked! And the advertisement re-raised that old expression of the chicken and the egg in the form of art versus advertising: which came first?
Personally I think I would have taken the ad as a compliment, and quickly moved on. Between their other exhibitions and even a new book coming out about the work, I would think that not only would I have more-important things to think about, but that nearly 20 years after being produced I could consider the work ingrained in the public conscience and worthy of appropriation and re-fabrication in the form of a television advertisement.
The Way Things Go (on the internet)
You be the judge for yourself. Go over the articles, conclude your own opinions. Me, I like to see all these different takes, all these forms, mediums and expressions. I can differentiate between a web-based product advertisement, a car ad, and a work of video art; I know which one I get the most from… all of them! (that’s culture for ya!)
Related content and websites:
that Pee-Wee opening scene: