After seeing those little space invader mosaics everywhere around Paris, I was really delighted to see these t-shirts all over the parade:
On their backs, most of the t-shirts had some combination of the phrases "We Are Back", "Space Invaders" and "Joachim Garraud." Thinking I had discovered the identity of the artist behind the little space invader mosaics all over town, one of the first things I did when I got home from the parade was look this guy up. What I found, instead, was a homepage for a DJ and producer who had produced a track for the 2005 Techno Parade called "Space Invaders are Back." At this point, I was a bit confused and a bit suspicious. Why was there no mention of the mosaic art installations in many international metropolitan cities? It would seem a bit excessive to have mounted a 6-year guerilla mosaic campaign around the world to support a track that would appear in the fall of 2005.
Eventually, I found the "offical" website of the artist Invader, who is not the same person as Garraud (more on Invader on Monday). It seems as if this is actually a case of guerrilla advertising. I'm taking this term from its usage to describe ads during the 2004 Olympics and World Cup, when companies would air ads that imply their sponsorship of the games, even though they hadn't given a penny. In a somewhat different manner, Garraud seems to have taken taken advantage of a broad street-art campaign and turned it into a massive ad campaign for himself by implying a continuity between Invader's work and his own. What would Invader say? On the one hand, Invader works by invading and appropriating space that was not his, so there are some similarities; on the other hand, Invader's work appears to be his own, while Garraud seems to be taking advantage of ambiguity to suggest that Invader's work belongs somehow to his. Fascinating stuff.