Space Invader in Varanasi
You couldn’t help but notice the small, slightly dilapidated markings – discrete and yet so out of place in this ancient city by the sacred Ganges River. I do believe it is the work of the french graffiti artist known as Space Invader.
The Parisian born artist started invading in 1998 having hit to date over 39 cities. Using mosaic tiles, the artist began tagging cities with the iconic imagery of the 1978 video game of the same moniker.
I’d first come across his work while researching for the upcoming New York City restaurant Tacombi, that focuses on street food, naturally I’d sourced some street art for inspiration. Little did I know that my travels through India would have me puzzling over the above images linking them to those I’d viewed from my laptop at a NYC cafe a few months earlier.
I’d snapped a few shots and came home to follow up and see if I could confirm my suspicions and while I was able to find out that yes, he did indeed “invade” Varanasi, his official website doesn’t include this particular tile mosaic…
After 10 years, the mission and medium remains the same, going from city to city, invading public space much the way big business advertising does, but the mosaic subjects have evolved. One of his latest pieces, also located in Varanasi, incorporates QR codes and data matrix codes. Common in Japan, QR or “quick response” codes can contain data such as hyperlinks, text, or contact information. The codes are readable with specially-equipped cellphones like the handy iphone, as seen here
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