Speed Rabbit Bravia
Have a look at this commercial. You might have already seen it on UK television as it was released very recently, but please watch it again. This is the third opus of the Sony Bravia campaign created by advertising agency Fallon London. After Balls and Paint, the color.like.no.other slogan is now demonstrated through a wave of play-doh rabbits in the streets of New York. Neat, creative, original... Well, there is some controversy around this later adjective as you can read it here and here, but this is not the purpose of this post.
I indeed want you to have a second look at it. Watch, and pay strong attention to details. Have you noticed now? No? Then have a third go... Focus on the first scenes. There, yes, on time-code 00:15. Indeed in the background... The red and white patch of colour. This is the real invasion of the TV commercial. Who cares about clay rabbits when aliens are amongst us... The bespoke patch is in fact a mosaic by French street artist Space-Invader, laid in 1999 in the street of Soho, in NYC (a better view is available here).
Addiction to invasion
I can already hear some of you in the back saying that I am probably the only one to have noticed this elusive presence in the back. The artist himself confirmed to me that he was not aware of his work being integrated by Sony, although he assumed that the director would have probably selected the location on purpose.
To a certain extend I agree, this is quite a furtive presence and you need to be trained to noticed such an invader in a urban surrounding. However I am not the only one to hunt these little space-invaders inspired by the eponymous video-game. More than a training this is an addiction shared by numerous street-art fans around the world who for instance keep track of their encounters on FlickR:
One of my own pictures, "Space-Invader is Watching you", more FlickR shots available here
When I use the word of "addiction", this is not too strong a word. I discovered the artist in the 90s in my home town of Grenoble, but was properly contaminated in London when I started taking pictures of the various mosaics I was seeing here and there. Since I have completely modified the way I walk in the street.
At every corner, I give a quick look over my shoulder, just to check that I have not missed one. Space Invader depicts is work as an "invasion of the (public) spaces", and you can read more details about his approach here. So, potentially, every location can host one of them... In Montpellier, for instance, the locations of mosaics were chosen so that, when placed on a map, they would form an image of a character. In London, their infiltration seems to be less systematic, and more random. It is consequently even more challenging to find them, especially since they are short-lived. Two of my discoveries in Farringdon and Brick Lane have already disappeared, stolen or taken down by the city services...
Convinced or interested in this artist, let me suggest to have a look at the street corners of your own city since Invader has already been active in more than 35 cities around the globe. There might be one of his mosaic just next door, looking at your car. Alternatively, for the lucky London readers, you can opt to visit the exhibition dedicated to his recent work at LAZARIDES gallery 8, Greek Street Soho, London W1D 4DG. Though don't expect any Sony camera there, unfortunately! However if you are really into Bunnies, I then recommend the current exhibition at Cosh Gallery, with some modern graphic design works on this animal ("The bunny show", until octobre 22nd, exhibition featuring Ben Frost, Hydro74, Bemodern, Mudwig, Si Scott, Airside, Pure Evil, Keith Watts, KozynDan, Mr Ian Wright, Pandayoghurt, Sean Alexander, Slinkachu, John Cossey...).