Things adds a strange codicil to Rivers’s stylistically (and materially) coherent body of work: it severs the link to the documentary just at the moment when he could most genuinely affirm to know the thoughts of his subjects. It is thus on the one hand another excellent Ben Rivers film, but also shows the artist working against himself, indeed even switching for the first time into the digital to see how “representation” there differs.
Utilizing a number of objects, photographs, songs, and figures from around the domestic environment, Rivers’ observational approach not only takes account of the changing mood in the atmosphere across a year but also deeply engages with the histories of space and “things” temporally bound to that space.
Things lends itself to such an elucidation/reading/cataloging as above because, I think, it holds as a foundational idea that “ a = a’ ” or, “a is not-a”, which is at the heart of all metaphor, and language. It sounds like tautology, but I find it can be a profound springboard into a river of new meanings.