Wednesday, 13 May 2015

A Fun Wipe Out

Street artist Invader's quirky exhibition at PMQ
PMQ or Police Married Quarters in between Soho and Sheung Wan, has a fun art exhibition on until this Sunday called Wipe Out, featuring the fun creative mosaics of Invader, a French street artist.

A pixelated portrait of Invader
He has made tiled mosaics of the original video game Space Invaders as well as other things like Mario of Super Mario Brothers, and the Pink Panther in over 60 cities around the world.

In 2001 until last year, Invader created a number of mosaics that were placed around the city, but it's the Highways Department that has taken down some of them, which he finds amusing, but some diehard fans formed a group to try to recreate the mosaics.

And in the Hong Kong context Invader has created mosaics specific to the city, like Bruce Lee, Doraemon and of course Hong Kong Phooey.

The last time he was here he happened to be staying in Admiralty during the Occupy protests and made a few mosaics inspired by the movement.

One of his projects not related to Hong Kong is called Art4Space, where he and a partner created a tiled mosaic of a space invader and attached it to a mini video camera and a GPS locater sealed in a box which was then put at the end of a giant weather balloon that was filled with helium.

Can you see Bruce Lee in this mosaic?
The plan was to see how high the balloon could go -- higher than the height airplanes travel at and film the entire experience before the balloon pops and as the box and mosaic fall back to earth, a parachute would automatically open so that they would fall safely back to the ground. The GPS would allow the duo to find them.

They did this in Florida and covertly, wearing plastic white jumpsuits and covered their mouths, but the drawback was that because it was so hot there -- hello it's Florida! -- they were sweating profusely in their suits.

Their first attempt failed because the helium tank didn't have enough helium to fill the balloon and they had to retreat and wait a few days for the next good day. The second attempt was perfect and the balloon took off, and at one point they lose track of the balloon because it reached the stratosphere where there was no signal.

A cute slogan that kind of says it all, doesn't it?
Four hours later it came down and emitted its location, but it took them a while to find it. They realize that phone GPS systems put the location to the nearest road, not necessarily the exact point.

It was the next day after hours of walking through other people's private properties did they finally find the camera and mosaic intact and saw the video which they showed us speeded up in parts.

What an interesting exercise.

The mosaics are colourful and cute -- and strangely look better when you look through them in the camera of the smartphone. It all makes sense!

This is one of the more fun art shows that hopefully inspires others to create art that is city-specific, and also have fun or poke fun at things or yourself. Art is everywhere if you look.

Love Hong Kong Phooey here
Wipe Out: An explanatory guide through Invader's creative universe
May 2-17, 2015
2/F, PMQ

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