Invader (born 1969) is a street artist who pastes up characters from and inspired by the Space Invaders game, made up of small coloured square tiles. He does this in cities across the world, then documents this as an “Invasion”, with maps of where to find each invader.
He started this project in 1998 with the invasion of Paris – the city where he lives and the most invaded city for now – and then spread the invasion to 35 other cities in the world: Los Angeles, New York City, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Geneva, Tokyo, Melbourne, Vienna, Bilbao, Bangkok, Darlington and even Mombasa are now invaded with his colorful characters in mosaic tiles.
The mosaics depict characters from Space Invaders and other video games from the late 1970’s. The images in these games were made with fairly low-resolution graphics, and are therefore suitable for reproduction as mosaics, with tiles representing the pixels. The tiles are difficult to alter and weather-resistant.
Invader installed the first mosaic in the early 1990’s in Paris. According to the artist, it was a scout, or sentinel, because it remained the only one for several years. The programme of installations began in earnest in 1998.
The locations for the mosaics are not random, but are chosen according to diverse criteria, which may be aesthetic, strategic or conceptual. Invader favours locations that are frequented by many people, but also likes some more hidden locations. In Montpellier, the locations of mosaics were chosen so that, when placed on a map, they form an image of a space invader character.
The mosaics are built in advance, and Invader travels with them. When he arrives in a city he obtains a map and spends at least a week to install them. They are catalogued, and Invader draws a map indicating their locations within the city. For some time, Invader has employed a professional photographer to take pictures of each mosaic.
One of the more prominent places where the mosaics have been installed is the Hollywood Sign. The first was placed on the letter D on December 31, 1999. During other trips to Los Angeles, Invader has also placed mosaics on other letters of the sign.