Arts·Exhibitionists

You've never seen a still life like this

In this video, you'll see fruits and vegetables deflate like balloons courtesy of Saskatchewan-raised artist Mike Pelletier. It's as wonderfully strange as it sounds.

Watch fruits and veggies deflate like balloons. It's as wonderfully strange as it sounds

Orange you glad you found this article? Watch "Still Life" by Mike Pelletier. The Amsterdam-based artist is our latest Exhibitionist in Residence. (Screengrab)

What you're about to watch is either extremely satisfying or the most disturbing thing to ever involve a bag of fresh produce.

"Still Life," a video by Mike Pelletier, appears on this week's episode of Exhibitionists. It's a piece of 3D animation that shows what would happen if a still life, well, wasn't all that still.

Watch "Still Life" below.

"When I do 3D animation, I always like to think about classical painting and old forms and how I might approach those with modern technology," says Pelletier. Based in Amsterdam, but raised in Saskatchewan, the 39-year-old artist originally studied painting and drawing at ACAD in Calgary. "But whenever I use technology, there's always something that will go wrong or go awry. And that's what's happening in this film."

I don't have that much interest in actually recreating reality because reality already exists.- Mike Pelletier, artist

Perfect 3D models of oranges and lemons spontaneously deflate like balloons. Squash self-squish. And all these unnatural acts unfold in front of Instagram-friendly backgrounds of turquoise and purple and millennial pink.

If Pelletier ever animated a snozberry, it'd taste like snozberries, no question. Everything you see in the film is 3D animation, but it looks like the real thing, and if that shakes your grip on reality, just wait until you explore some of the other films on his website. In much of his work, Pelletier plays the same tricks on 3D models of the human body, instead.

"3D kind of has the promise of being able to recreate reality," he says. "But I don't have that much interest in actually recreating reality because reality already exists."

"I think the reaction I get for most of my stuff can be pretty mixed, because it's that weird mixture of pretty colours and gentle, smooth movements," Pelletier says. "But at the same time, the stuff I do is quite disconcerting in a way."

"I can never really tell how other people are going to react, but I guess I just go with how I will end up feeling when I watch those sorts of things," he says. "And for me it's always this peaceful, zen-like feeling when I watch them."

"Still Life" previously appeared at Montreal's Chromatic Festival in May, and just last week, it was featured at the Supernova Outdoor Digital Animation Festival in Denver. Discover more of Pelletier's work on his website.

Watch Exhibitionists online or on Friday nights at 12:30am (1am NT) on CBC Television.

About the Author

Leah Collins is the Senior Writer at CBC Arts.

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