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Critical Review

Guides is a dynamic collection of mixed media and ceramic artworks produced by the critically acclaimed French street artist Invader in the 2000s. The collection consists of a variety of books published by Invader with mosaic tile covers which are kept in a plexiglass box. The mosaic covers tend to feature images of aliens from the popular arcade game created by Japanese game manufacturer, Taito, in 1978. Invasion Book 2.0, for example, features a menacing looking alien rendered using red tiles against a green backdrop. The use of small, square, ceramic tiles to create these covers resonates strongly with the 8-bit visual register of arcade games. This style has become a signature element of Invader’s visual language and can be seen in many of Invader’s artworks.

Invader produced these guides as part of his impressive installation project, the Space Invaders project, which the artist started in 1998. The ground-breaking project has become recognised as one of the greatest street art stunts in art history due to the astonishing level of commitment and ambition Invader has demonstrated in ensuring that it has become a truly global artistic endeavour. The project involves Invader travelling all over the world and installing mosaics of aliens at night onto the walls of the cities he visits. The artist aims to install around 20 to 50 mosaics per city, and refers to these city visits with the explicit goal of installing his artworks as ‘invasions’.

Invader has made this art project into a game by developing a sophisticated points system which enables him to rank the cities he travels in order of success. Points are allocated to each city depending on how many mosaics are installed, what location they are in and how many people will see them. Invader explains, 'I give a score of 10 to 100 for every new piece installed. Every city has therefore its own score which is the sum of all the Space Invaders created on its walls’.

The guides published by Invader contain detailed information regarding the various ‘invasion waves' carried out by Invader, including maps of the cities he has invaded and the precise coordinates of where the artworks can be found, as well as pictures and explanations regarding his artistic process.

As well as producing guides, Invader has also created a variety of maps, which can be seen in the Maps collection, as well as Invasion Kits which enable people to create their own space invader mosaics and participate in the installation project themselves.