Have an account? Login | New to Lomography? Register | Lab | Current Site:

The Way Things Go: Art Films with Rube Goldberg Machines

Named after Pulitzer Prize-winning inventor and cartoonist, Rube Goldberg contraptions set off chain reactions to complete a simple task. Think of a red ball rolling down a slope and then activating a domino chain which moves something or other until in the end, the light is switched off or the like. Those complicated contraptions have inspired others to make their own versions, check out a couple after the jump.

In 1987, Swiss artists Peter Fischli and David Weiss created an art film called The Way Things Go (Der Lauf der Dinge). The 30-minute documentary shows a meticulously assembled array of everyday objects as each item moves on to nudge/pull/burn/soak/fill up/blow up/etc. the next thing in line.

Der Lauf der Dinge (The Way Things Go) by Peter Fischli & David Weiss

The precarious chain reaction is an exploration of causes and effects, loosely based on Newton’s law of motion: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. We love it when textbook science and all kinds of art meet, and projects like these are just the right dose of Discovery Channel and contemporary art.

Photos via energybulletin and engology

This highly-complicated device is simply called a Rube Goldberg Machine, named after a Pulitzer Prize winning inventor and cartoonist. The deliberately over-engineered mechanism is made up of precisely placed household items (except for those explosive chemicals and what not) and are set off in sequence to complete a simple task.

Take, for example, the Rube Goldberg Photobooth.

Alex Crawford & Austin Nelson had this awesome (and cumbersome!) idea to create a digital photobooth that automatically takes your picture after you set off a Rube Goldberg Machine. The catch? It’s triggered by a print that comes out of an instant camera! Talk about putting some muscle in it.

Rube Goldberg Photobooth by Crawford & Nelson

This definitely takes me back to grade school science class where I was sitting slackjawed by the amazingly well-timed, well-placed, and well-executed Rube Goldberg Machine documentaries we watched. I remember making one with my cousins when we were little, but it definitely wasn’t as elaborate as Fischli and Weiss’s!

Now that I think about it, it would be pretty sick to make a completely analogue one and film it with the LomoKino! Have you ever made a Rube Goldberg Machine of your own? :-) We’d love to see them!

Sources include Lost at E Minor, Cool Material, Matthew Marks Gallery, The Creators Project, Wikipedia, and Rube Goldberg.

Enter a new analogue dimension with the LomoKino. Lomography’s own 35mm analogue movie camera allows you to capture action and immortalize your story on film! Shoot 144 frames on any 35mm film and create your own cinematic masterpieces. Want to watch your movie the old-school way? We also offer the LomoKino and LomoKinoscope package!

written by denisesanjose

No comments yet, be the first