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Urban Invasion Detected – A reality game by Invader

Who are you?

I’m Space Invader (that’s my alias). I always appear masked in public, so no one knows
my face.   Some people call me a polluter, others say I’m an artist. I prefer
to think of myself as an invader !

What’s the Space Invaders project about?
The idea is to “invade” cities all over the world with characters inspired
by first-generation arcade games, and especially the now classic Space Invaders. 
I make them out of tiles, meaning I can cement them to walls and keep the ultra-pixelated
appearance.

How many people are involved?

Just me. In the eight years I’ve been working on this project, I’ve traveled to 35
cities on all five continents with the sole intention of “invading” them!
Having said that, people have sent me photos of Space Invaders in towns I’ve never
set foot in! I see it as a positive thing, a kind of tribute. I did consider setting
up a group strategy but it’s a hard thing to delegate. So while I don’t encourage
this kind of copying, I don’t especially condemn it either.

What made you choose Space Invaders as the main character for the project?

Lots of reasons. I see them as a symbol of our era and the birth of modern technology,
with video games, computers, the Internet, mobile phones, hackers and viruses.
And “space invader” is a pretty good definition of what I’m doing… invading spaces!

How do you stick them down?   Do they ever get damaged or stolen?

I use extra-strong cements. Nothing lasts for ever, but if a thing’s worth gluing,
it’s worth gluing well! It has been known for a disgruntled building owner or the
council to tear down an Invader. As for “Invader thieves”, nine times out of ten they
end up with a few broken tiles; they’re too fragile to be prized off in one piece.

How do you choose your spots?

I go everywhere in the city, and I watch carrefuly. A spot is like a revelation…
it jumps out at you.

Taito Corporation owns the rights for the original game.   Have
they taken action against you?

No.  They might if I invented a game and called it “Space Invaders”, or made
t-shirts with the original desing on them, but that’s not my intention. Also, my Space
Invaders have evolved away from Taito’s, as I’ve combined the original four characters
to create thousands of variations.

How do you go about an invasion? Do you make the Invaders in advance?

It depends. I’ve developed all kinds of techniques so I can adapt to different contexts,
like how busy the spot is, when the invasion takes place, the size and weight of the
Invader, how high up the wall it’s going to be, etc. It takes at least two weeks to
invade a city.  I don’t just put up a couple of Invaders in the center then go
home. I set out to cover the entire city.

Have you ever run into trouble with the police?

Sometimes, but that’s part of the game. Then it’s a case of “go to jail and miss three
turns”!

Do you keep a record of all your Space Invaders?

Yes.  Because they’re all different, they’re all numbered, photographed and carefully
indexed.   Some of this information is given in the “invasion guides”, each
of which retraces the history of a particular invasion. The first two volumes are
for Paris and Los Angeles. I’m working on the next ones.

What are the “invasion maps”?

Street maps are an important part of my invasions. For every city I invade, I make
a note of where each Invader is on a map.  After certain invasions, I’ve drawn
up an “invasion map” which is a kind of record of how the invasion happened. This
map is then printed and distributed in the city in question, and sold in the Space
Shop. So far I’ve produced 15 “invasion maps” (out of 35 invaded cities).

Are all the Space Invaders photos online?

No.  Only a fraction of them are on the site.  You can see a lot more on
photo-sharing sites like Flickr.com.

Is there a political message?

The act in itself is political, as 99% of the time I don’t have authorization. Otherwise,
it’s more an experiment than a protest. Obviously there’s the gaming aspect too, as
I’ve spent the past eight years traveling from city to city with the sole objective
of getting a maximum score.

How does your scoring system work?

It’s very straightforward.  Each Space Invader is worth between 10 and 50 points
depending on its size, composition and where it is.  So each invaded city has
a score that’s added to previous scores.

Are you still invading?

Absolutely.  Not a week goes by without new Invaders appearing.

Do you show your work in institutions or galleries?

Yes. What you can see in the street is only part of what I do.  I like to switch
from one to the other, it’s a way of doing different things. Right now I’m working
on a project that uses Rubik’s Cube, the Eighties cult puzzle, as the basis for pictures
and sculptures. I call this my “RubikCubist” period.

Why Rubik’s cubes?

I feel it’s a logical, and interesting, continuation of my work.  Like Space
Invaders, the Rubik’s Cube is an 80s game made from colored squares.  It’s a
fascinating object, as it’s both extremely simple and extremely complex. Did you know
there are over 43 billion possible permutations for a Rubik’s Cube? I use the Rubik’s
Cube like an artist uses paint. I like the idea that it wasn’t intended to be used
this way, and that ultimately it works really well.

How can we find out about your exhibitions?

By signing up to my newsletter.

Posted by: rikoko

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