In Janek Simon’s early works, one can see a fascination with catastrophes and the destruction of civilization, which manifested in the computer games created by the artist. One such example is his debut work, Carpet Invaders. It is modelled on the Space Invaders game, popular in the 1980s, which initiated the development of computer games. The game was two-dimensional and based on destroying incoming aliens with a cannon. The graphic design of the game was based on the ornaments from a 19th-century prayer rug from the collection of the artist’s grandfather. The viewer can use the image of a spaceship to fight the oriental-shaped elements on the carpet projected on the floor.
The work was created in response to the fear and Islamophobia in the aftermath of the World Trade Centre attack. It shows how religious or cultural conflicts permeate popular entertainment, thus infiltrating homes and private life through games that seem to be safe and fun, and in fact foster a fascination with military aggression.