Art Show Review Uncategorized

Invader Space Station Paris 2024

Review of Space Invaders’ conversion of a multi storey car park into a multi level art game

Stunning evidence of a long running planetary invasion plan whose mastermind goes by the name Space Invader has emerged at the Invader Space Station.

Teleporting to Paris to investigate, we discover intergalactic intrusions set in a multi level game masquerading as featureless former car park/office block.   We enter with trepidation, no one in history has ever survived a space invader attack, we are doomed to run out of lives.

It takes 9 levels to master this game but the first 4 are spent powering up.  The original much loved Space Invader arcade game rewards (or results in) fast wrists capable of extreme rapid fire button action at moments of close up battle, in the Invader Space Station strong thighs are an advantage as the platform lacks an elevating booster.  

Level 5 is where the enemy first engages. 

From a deepest outer space darkness, larger than life rank and file invaders march towards us, way larger and more muscular than we remember from those ancient coin-op confrontations decades ago.  Flashing angular warriors whose amplified harmonic grunt gets faster and louder as they rip the darkness apart pin us to the edge of the universe.  Adrenaline reaching levels free from gravity and defences drained, we flee up to the next level pursued by a sound like someone downstairs has a record player that jumps back after the opening two notes of an acid brass band doing Purple Haze as a duet for euphonium and tuba.

When the show closes come back to us, we might then have the courage to memorialise this awesome installation in video format but until then, we need to get by not thinking about it.

Entering the space station we were allowed to retain our communication devices, unlike, for example, in the black hole our phones vaporised into at a rat artist’s show in Northern climes in a previous epoch.  Our phones have been seeded with a viral app called Flash Invaders which we believe to be a “game”, our vigilance in spotting these lurking invaders on the streets is rewarded with “points” which take us up the “leaderboard” but tracking those invaders is tricky.

The next level reveals the scale and density of the invaders local infiltration.  They are everywhere and mainly lurking in plain sight.  A location map and a matrix boasts of the visible spectrum characteristics of each invader but not their performance specs.  Some conduct their spying from roofs, some lurk at ground level.  We are obsessed with fixing their position using that app but the map of Paris on display is deliberately vague, in the real world each invader could be anywhere in the hundreds of meters that each marker covers.

In 83 cities across 32 countries an army of (so far) 4027 invaders monitor, record, survey, report and spy.  Waves of attack on all fronts, the intrusion is global.   The next level of the Invader Space Station reveals the most photogenic invaders around the world though perhaps it is more of a spectacular large scale “employee of the month” photo wall.  Who is the best spy, which invader is documenting the most human activity through that app? 

That question is actually answered quite explicitly on a real time monitor showing live surveillance successes.  You think we are playing the game?  The app is actually feeding our flashes back to the central hive, our location and times are tracked so that Space Invader, gloating Jabba-like in his lair, can monitor and measure the thousands of us daily pursuing the invaders embedded throughout the planet.  We are being played.

Lest we think our growing awareness of his scheme somehow levels the game, Space Invader’s next capsule mocks our puny efforts at mimicry.  A simple wall invites your counter attack but the result is an accumulation of toy-like marks and sticker.  Read, weep, don’t try this anywhere else is the overt Space Station message.   Curiously, the top of the wall houses a sequence of names, some clearly in code.  These are believed to be collaborators, if you know you know as they themselves say.

Space Invader is a master of video surveillance techniques, grainy dark footage of brief glimpses of invaders touching down in position simultaneously fascinates and strikes the fear of the unknowable into us. 

In parallel with the main invasion action, very secret tools have allowed Space Invader to capture humans and animals, transmogrify them and imprison them in embryonic stasis in pods mockingly called Kinder Eggs.  The next level forces real living humans to revert to a state of juvenile delight at Invader’s collection of captured Kinder Eggs, oh the unexpected shock and horror.

Rumour and allegations orbited the Forumosphere that the first invaders were innocent rubik’s cubes dismembered and rearranged in horrific parody of an old game played on low res screen in cabinet devices often located in pubs and arcades.  The resulting mosaics were then given the responsibility of keeping sentry on street walls in major concentrations of humans such as Paris and London.  There is clear evidence at the 7th Level of entire rubiks cubes being assembled to make blurry images of artefacts of mass public appeal.  5 football stars, all manspread knees and flash perms leer at a quartet of stunning blondes while gun toting film directors face down gangsters and OG rock stars.  The cunning thing about the impressionist images is that they are a disguise hard to figure out with the naked eye but on a phone screen it is much clearer who invaders are, all a ruse to get humans to pull out their phones and ultimately give their location away.

Next level is a magnificent Invader pin-up hall of fame.  Prints, canvas replicas and images face off against eachother.   These are the indoor versions of the outdoor mosaics.    No icy winters cracking their pixels off or Summer sunburn, a life in frames beckons these pampered prima donnas of the space station. 

Our efforts in clearing the 7th Level were rewarded with cinemacope presentations of longer length Space Invader propaganda.  Accommodation is rudimentary lest comfort distract you from the audiovisuals and the propaganda changes, so what you witness depends on your space-time vector, in other words the day of the week you beam up.  We watched the compelling sand advert “I Invade Djerba” (2020) and left with a yearning to visit and not just because there are (or once upon a time were) 58 Invaders to spot.  Traditionalist space travellers will be horrified at the casual desecration of the old gods’ abodes as an invader takes up station on a hut previously in real life occupied by Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi.  The force is with Space Invader these days.  Also available is the space classic “Art4Space” (2012) in which Space Invader… oh we don’t want to give too much away but defying gravity is involved and it takes place in Cape Canaveral, a spiritual home from home for the Space Invader. 

A shocking demonstration of the power of the Invaders took place a few years ago when a trio went rogue, hijacked a plane and flew around regions where humans are known generally let their defences down.   Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water… they come for you from the sky!  Scenes of panic and hysteria were witnessed by the Invader’s minions and if you make it to the higher levels of the Space Station you get a glimpse into their photo archive of photos of this invasion exercise.

An optical monitoring device near the top of the Space Station fixes on the latest invader to take up station.  The 1500th invader in Paris, PA_1500 to give it its formal code, sits on top of the exoskeleton of a modern art mausoleum called the Centre Pompidou about 1 light kilometre from the Space Station as the Galaxian flies. 

Insurgents have railed against the desecration of the incumbent authority’s cultural palace but there is evidence the Pompidou Centre was complicit in their own downfall, according to a transmission detected from Space Invader the rulers of the Pompidou were practically begging to host an Invader.

This invader’s height grants it immense range and it is almost invulnerable to any ground-to-air assault.  The telescope is a relatively simple concoction of lenses known to allow light to pass through in both directions, based on the evidence of the curious relationship invaders have with such devices, were we looking at the invader or was it looking at us?

Tall lookout tower, telescope, Invader PA_1432. Nuff said.

Any modern invasion must incorporate certain customary elements: take over the means of communication, then issue instructions, then control the populace.  The newspaper Libération, oh the irony of that title, used to be published from the very premises the Invader Space Station currently occupies.  Star date 2012 saw Space Invader enter the building and take control of the paper, subliminal surreptitious invader motifs took over the masthead and the font.   The last level of any game is where ultimate mastery is established and there at the very top floor we find PA_992 has since 2012 been transmitting into space, readily witnessed by the Google satellite. 

PA_992 little and large
Data detected by Google earth mothership satellite station

That’s it.  They said we could expect to spend 1.5 hours surveying the Invader Space Station, we were detained for over 3.   Locating the exit we turn sideways, flap our arms up and down from the elbow and do the space invader jive through the deep space portal back to London.   Game over.

Art shows by street artists these days tend to be regimented product displays, framed art with price tags.  “Owners required, help me shift my inventory”.  Not enough art for arts sake, more farts for farts to take.  This Invader experience harnesses concept, installation and retrospective in a non selling show harking back to the glory days of shows by the likes of Swoon, Faile, Cept, Giles Walker, Paul Insect taking over old swimming baths, Dr D rinsing us in an open working launderette and Banksy’s Cans Festival where the art mattered, not the Profit and Loss.  Invader Space Station really brings the art back into street art and does it with style and fun.  Next level.

Space Invader: Invader Space Station

2nd Feb – 5th May 2024

11 rue Béranger

Paris 75003


Invader Space Station Bookings

Space Invader Website

All photo: Dave Stuart

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