Artist Douglas Stanley has asked the organizers of the Leipzig Games Convention to "simply turn off" his art installation, which features a mash-up of the attack on the World Trade Center and Space Invaders, at the show. On his website Stanley says simply that he's given the group permission to turn off the exhibit, and then hours later writes that a statement on his website can be considered his official reason for taking down the display. Stanley also mentions on his site that he has received death threats since his exhibit first appeared on Kotaku and then in national and international press. The decision comes the day Taito said they may be seeking legal action against the artist.
"After three days of a steady downward spiral in public discussion of the piece, I have just given my agreement to the organizers of the Leipzig Games Convention to simply turn off the installation Invaders! While I realize the dangerous precedent of allowing the lowest common denominator dictate what is and is not a valid form of expression, unfortunately the current tone has totally obfuscated the original aims of the piece. While I take full responsibility for the uncomfortable ambiguity of certain aspects of this work, it was never created to merely provoke controversy for controversy's sake, and unfortunately, this is what the piece has now become. The American response to this work has been, frankly, immature, and lacking the sophistication and consideration that other parts of the world have so far shown the work. Contrary to previous reports, I am an American, and it saddens me that we as a people remain so profoundly unable to process this event outside of some obscure, but tacitly understood, criteria of purely anesthetized artistic representation. Due to these profound misunderstandings, I simply feel that from an artistic point of view, the work has lost the ability to have any valuable impact, poetic or otherwise. I have not been pressured by the Leipziger Messe, nor by the Computerspiele Museum in this decision - to the contrary, they have offered their support in defending the right of artists to speak freely, and in whatever context they may choose."
While I don't get exactly what Stanley was going for, I didn't have a chance to interact with the exhibit. Mike McWhertor, who did play through a chunk of the game, called it an unsettling exhibit that delivered a complex message with simple means. I'm not sure where I stand on the piece itself, but I do feel strongly that art, no matter how seemingly crass or insensitive, should be protected. Games Convention officials were unavailable at press time, but we will update the site if and when we can get a response. ++30 Years of Invasions! [Abstract Machine]