French street artist Invader's stated life mission is to post his works on walls and landmarks in all the world's major cities, and he's been highly successful so far, "invading" cities from Dhaka, Bangladesh, to Perth, Australia.
But his most ambitious project to date came on Aug. 20, 2012, when he managed to send one of his 8-bit Space Invader video game mosaics into the stratosphere, fulfilling his goal of a successful outer space invasion.
It's a so-far unique achievement that some of his critics failed to believe actually took place when Invader first announced that he had completed his mission, but a new film called "Art4Space" provides documented proof of the launch. Here's the film's trailer:
The film screened twice Tuesday night at New York City's Landmark Sunshine Cinema in the midst of Invader's latest incursion into Manhattan's Lower East Side at the tail end of his friend Banksy's NYC "street residency," and Invader took a few minutes before the show to speak with the International Business Times about "Art4Space" and other topics via email, as he remains anonymous.
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The movie is narrated entirely by the urban artist, who takes viewers on a whirlwind trip from his formulation of the idea through the process of building a sophisticated modified weather balloon dubbed "Space-One," through the homemade craft's launch during Miami's 2012 Pulse Contemporary Art Fair. There he showed his works in conjunction with the Jonathan LeVine Gallery -- from a Florida roadside with an Invader mosaic and video camera attached.
Finding the contraption after its descent back to Earth in order to recover the camera containing the recording of the flight presented a whole separate challenge, and there is a moment of pure triumphant joy when it is located after hours of traipsing through a swampy field populated with snakes and watched over by an alligator.
But the highlight of the film is the final sequence, which features the footage from the balloon's journey, in which the colorful porcelain tile mosaic can be seen careening upward through the troposphere and into the stratosphere, piercing clouds and even being hit by lightning as the Everglades fade from view far below.
It's a haunting sequence that shows viewers an artistic representation of an enemy from the low-resolution 1978 Space Invaders video game looking down from miles above the globe, but it ends after a few minutes with a loud pop as the helium runs out in the balloon, sending streamers of cloth out into the sky.
When the balloon makes its landing, the movie ends abruptly, and a "Game Over" final score tally graphic fills the screen. "Art4Space" has wrapped after about 45 minutes, and viewers find themselves back on the ground, having returned from an epic trek straight up into the sky.
"This movie is a documentary, not a fiction, and it is about making dreams come true, about how you can do crazy things with just a few tricks, basic technologies and lots of energy and perseverance," Invader said via email, summing up the thoughts and feelings of those lucky few who got to witness it for themselves.