1999 - 5.15 mins

‘What prevents me from supposing that this table either vanishes or alters its shape when no one is observing it and then when someone looks at it again changes back? But one feels like saying – who is going to suppose such a thing?’ (Ludwig Wittgenstein  On Certainty  1949-51)

The film-maker accepts the challenge of the philosopher and changes not only a table but also chairs, shoes, jugs, teapots and almost everything else lying around his house.

Watch Movie
Watch Bush's 1977 student film that inspired Furniture Poetry
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‘Bush’s meticulous comic timing and our own need for meaning lends these not-so-still lives a curiously expressive quality. This clever film was really rather old-fashioned – it had a mischievously Surrealist air – but it was extremely witty and unexpectedly moving.’  Louise Levene – Sunday Telegraph

‘The best British film on show, (at Cannes) will probably be Paul Bush’s brief, brilliant animated short Furniture Poetry, which puts apples, plates, tables and chairs through rigorous balletic paces.’ Jonathan Romney – New Statesman

‘This stop-motion animation illustrates Wittgensteins’ paranoid question, how can we trust that things continue to exist even when we’re not conscious of them? Chairs and teapots take on the dematerialising speed usually attributed to subatomic particles, and, in a logical extension of 20th century language games and physics conundrums, the humble objects upon which we most depend give way to a madly flickering flux.’ Laura U Marks


(5.15 minutes, colour, 1999, super-16 original – 35mm/DCP)

Directed, Animated and Edited by Paul Bush
Sound and Music by Andy Cowton
Camera by Paul Bush
Produced by Paul Bush

Copyright Ancient Mariner Productions 1999

An Ancient Mariner Production funded by an Arts Council and Channel 4 Animate award

Winner of the Transmediale Award, Berlin 2000
Official Selection – Directors’ Fortnight, Cannes 2000
Thresholds of the Frame touring programme 2002 (UK)
UK/Canadian Video Exchange touring programme 2003 (International)
Comfort Zones touring exhibition 2007-2008 UK