Curatorial Projects > Determining Domain (2012-13)

Swiss artists Peter Fischli and David Weiss’ 1987 film Der Lauf der Dinge (The Way Things Go) is shown on the left monitor. The right monitor shows four related works created several years later.

In the spirit of Rube Goldberg, Der Lauf der Dinge captures a chain reaction set up by the artists in a large warehouse, showcasing the laws of chemistry and physics with each action and reaction.

Fischli and Weiss claimed the creatives behind the Honda 2003 advertisement Cog must have seen their film. Lawyers representing Fischli and Weiss wrote to Honda UK claiming copyright infringement about the alleged similarities. Fischli stated, “Of course we didn't invent the chain reaction and Cog is obviously a different thing. But we did make a film the creatives of the Honda ad have obviously seen. We feel we should have been consulted about the making of this ad. Companies and ad agencies have asked us for permission to use the film on several occasions but for this reason we have always said no.” Honda confirmed it had received the letter and said it was “looking into the allegations.”

“As far as I know there's no such thing as copyright of an idea,” said a spokesman.

Determining Domain

November 7, 2012 – January 19, 2013
Intersection for the Arts
San Francisco, CA