Carpet Invaders | Collection Co–selection

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Janek Simon

Carpet Invaders

interactive installation; dimensions of the projection projected on the floor: circa 2,5x1,5 m

In Janek Simons 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 artists 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.

Janek Simon is a versatile artist who creates interactive installations, videos, objects, artistic actions, and also works as a curator of projects and exhibitions. His interests are diverse and include globalization, political geography, artificial intelligence, computer games, post-colonialism, social issues, financial strategies, travel, and many others. He made his debut in 2001 and in 2019 he presented a retrospective exhibition at the Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art, presenting his work from the last 15 years. Simon produced many of the exhibited pieces himself, using a home 3D printer.