Art Basel Miami Beach

Invader Premieres Documentary Art4Space, Dreams of Sending His Street Art to the Moon

A lucky few filled up the half-empty Colony Theater on Lincoln Road for the world premiere of Paris-based street artist Invader's documentary Art4Space last night and met the mysterious artist/director in the flesh. Jaie Laplante, Executive Director at the Miami International Film Festival, introduced the film by the Paris-based artist who prefers anonymity due to the sometimes illegal nature of his art.

Laplante, who co-hosted the screening along with the New York City-based Jonathan Levine Gallery, noted Invader took inspiration from Chris Marker's 1962 short sci-fi film, La Jetée. The film's premise of time travel went on to inspire Terry Gilliam to make 12 Monkeys, but the only trace of La Jetée in Art4Space is the original's form, whose story actually came from a series of still images and a first person perspective voice-over narration.

In the 45-minute film, Invader starts by documenting his first "invasion" of Miami, where he plasters mosaics depicting characters taken from the 8-bit, late-70s era video game, "Space Invaders." His narration is filled with humorous observations about Miami, as he seeks out the right buildings and structures to epoxy his creations. The film also has a refreshing down-to-earth self-deprecating humor that does not even spare his US sponsor, Levine. "He sometimes likes to dress as a Teletubbie," Invader says over an image of his patron in a red Teletubbie costume.

Invader is not above humbling himself, either, revealing his idea to launch an invader tile into space from the treacherous terrain of Florida is not as well thought-out as he first thought. Inspired by homemade videos on the Internet of cameras floated into the stratosphere on weather balloons to take pictures of the earth, Invader thinks it would be poetic to send his art into space near Cape Canaveral. However, he did not account for the sweltering August heat and the swampy terrain where he would have to recover his footage and art piece. Bumbling complications ensue.

The still images all build up to the launch of a piece he calls Space-one. Along with the transition from stills to video, Invader's near breathless narrative comes to a stop: "This is the footage." The camera is then focused tight on Invader's sweaty white face mask. He fumbles noisily with one last tweak, before he lets it go, and ambient noise from the camera gives way to a whooshing abstract score. Though the film bounds along at a brisk and humorous pace, it all changes for the sublime ride into space and back to earth. The 3-hour flight 15,000 feet up is sped up and slowed down at the right moments. The documentary ends just as Space-one hits the ground. The theater erupted in applause and cheers. 

Invader then came out to take questions for about 15 minutes. He wore the white jump suit he is seen wearing in the film. A circular logo featuring Space-one was placed over his heart. A white fabric covered his nose and mouth and he wore large, dark sunglasses. He took many good questions from the audience covering his career from its beginning to what might be next for him. He noted, since his first mosaic in Paris 15 years ago, his love for pasting up his invaders has never waned. "I could never stop. I've thought many, many times about stopping this project, but the world is so big, and I'm so addicted to my work now. I think I can never give it up."

He also said he has not finished with space as his canvas, noting he would love to place an invader high enough above earth that it might orbit the planet. He also said he has entertained the idea of placing an invader on the moon. "I thought many times about that, but it's still a dream."

Jonathan Levine Gallery will present a selection of original mosaic artworks by Invader at Pulse Art Fair, running December 6-9 at The Ice Palace, 1400 North Miami Ave., Miami. The "Art4Space" documentary will be screened at the Johnathan Levine Gallery booth without sound.

Follow Hans Morgenstern on Twitter @indieethos.

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Hans Morgenstern has contributed to Miami New Times for too many decades, but he's grown to love Miami's arts and culture scene because of it. He is the chair of the Florida Film Critics Circle, and most of his film criticism can be found on Independent Ethos ( if not in New Times.