At a quick glance, nothing appears out of the ordinary in Western Spaghetti, a video short by the stop-motion animator PES: We think we’re watching someone cooking pasta in his kitchen. But when our unseen chef turns on his stove — to produce flickering candy corn instead of flames — or tosses thinly sliced Post-It Notes, instead of butter, into his cooking pan, we know we’re looking at a marvelous world that’s simultaneously familiar and surreal.
This is a realm that PES has explored in hilarious videos like Game Over (which used bits of cultural detritus to re-create famous video games) and Roof Sex (in which two chairs engage in a very human behavior). But Western Spaghetti is more about eliciting oohs and ahs than ha-has, showing us how our brains can mistake a sheet of bubble wrap for a pot of boiling water, or dice for bouillon cubes — and how a simmering pan is a fine metaphor for an artist’s imagination.
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