ARTWORK > Secret Codewords of the NSA

I began working on these small (6" x 6") prints in November 2013 when I read an article in the NY Times that mentioned a number of codewords that the NSA uses to identify various operations and information-gathering techniques. Many of the codewords they cited, like “dishfire,” were just begging to be illustrated. So I did some internet sleuthing and discovered a treasure trove of over 400 NSA codewords to work from. I decided to do 26 of them, one for each letter of the alphabet. Each codeword is blind embossed rather than inked, in the spirit of keeping things secret.

"These little woodcuts smartly skewer the massive programs they draw attention to, with jabs of word play and the simple act of naming something that maintains power by remaining unnamed." -Beth Cullom, Cullom Gallery

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2014
Woodblock print by Annie Bissett depicting a secret code words of the NSA called accordian
Japanese woodblock (mokuhanga)
6" x 6" (15.24 x 15.24 cm)
Woodblock print by Annie Bissett depicting a secret code word of the NSA called blackpearl
Japanese woodblock (mokuhanga)
6" x 6" (15.24 x 15.24 cm)
Woodblock print by Annie Bissett depicting a secret code word of the NSA called cultweave
Japanese woodblock (mokuhanga)
6" x 6" (15.24 x 15.24 cm)
Woodblock print by Annie Bissett depicting a secret code word of the NSA called dishfire
Japanese woodblock (mokuhanga)
6" x 6" (15.24 x 15.24 cm)
Woodblock print, image of olive oyl, by artist illustrator Annie Bissett depicting a secret code word of the NSA called evilolive
Japanese woodblock (mokuhanga)
6" x 6" (15.24 x 15.24 cm)
Woodblock print of goldfish by artist illustrator Annie Bissett depicting a secret code word of the NSA called fishbowl
Japanese woodblock (mokuhanga)
6" x 6" (15.24 x 15.24 cm)
Woodblock print of genie coming out of a bottle by artist illustrator Annie Bissett depicting a secret code word of the NSA called genie
Japanese woodblock (mokuhanga)
6" x 6" (15.24 x 15.24 cm)
Woodblock print of constellation Hercules by artist illustrator Annie Bissett depicting a secret code word of the NSA called hercules
Japanese woodblock (mokuhanga)
6" x 6" (15.24 x 15.24 cm)
Woodblock print of iceberg by artist illustrator Annie Bissett depicting a secret code word of the NSA called iceberg
Japanese woodblock (mokuhanga)
6" x 6" (15.24 x 15.24 cm)
Woodblock print by Annie Bissett depicting an octopus and planet earth illustrating the NSA codeword juggernaut;
Japanese woodblock (mokuhanga)
6" x 6" (15.24 x 15.24 cm)
Woodblock print of man panning for gold by artist illustrator Annie Bissett illustrating a secret code word of the NSA called klondike
Japanese woodblock (mokuhanga)
6" x 6" (15.24 x 15.24 cm)
Woodblock print of lifesaver from the Titanic by artist illustrator Annie Bissett depicting an NSA code word called lifesaver
Japanese woodblock (mokuhanga)
6" x 6" (15.24 x 15.24 cm)
Woodblock print by Annie Bissett depicting an Uncle Sam themed magic lantern
Japanese woodblock (mokuhanga)
6" x 6" (15.24 x 15.24 cm)
Woodblock print by Annie Bissett depicting dead honey bees and a robobee illustrating the NSA code word nectar
Japanese woodblock (mokuhanga)
6" x 6" (15.24 x 15.24 cm)
Woodblock print by Annie Bissett depicting a mermaid
Japanese woodblock (mokuhanga)
6" x 6" (15.24 x 15.24 cm)
Woodblock print by Annie Bissett depicting an indian blanket pattern in black and red
Japanese woodblock (mokuhanga)
6" x 6" (15.24 x 15.24 cm)
Woodblock print by Annie Bissett depicting the Facebook 'Like" hand coming out of a cloud like a tarot card, to depict the NSA code word quantumhand
Japanese woodblock (mokuhanga)
6" x 6" (15.24 x 15.24 cm)
Woodblock print by Annie Bissett depicting a ronin Kabuki actor, after Katsukawa Shun'ei
Japanese woodblock (mokuhanga)
6" x 6" (15.24 x 15.24 cm)
Woodblock print by Annie Bissett depicting a Greek style sphinx with the head of Lady Liberty
Japanese woodblock (mokuhanga)
6" x 6" (15.24 x 15.24 cm)
Woodblock print by Annie Bissett depicting a tin man being chased by a flying monkey
Japanese woodblock (mokuhanga)
6" x 6" (15.24 x 15.24 cm)
Woodblock print by Annie Bissett depicting an eclipse, a black circle with yellow glow
Japanese woodblock (mokuhanga)
6" x 6" (15.24 x 15.24 cm)
Woodblock print by Annie Bissett depicting a male dancer dancing the bara'a or dagger dance
Japanese woodblock (mokuhanga)
6" x 6" (15.24 x 15.24 cm)
Woodblock print by Annie Bissett depicting a dowsing rod
Japanese woodblock (mokuhanga)
6" x 6" (15.24 x 15.24 cm)
Woodblock print by Annie Bissett depicting an X with a fingerprint inside
Japanese woodblock (mokuhanga)
6" x 6" (15.24 x 15.24 cm)
Woodblock print by Annie Bissett depicting a buffalo / bison
Japanese woodblock (mokuhanga)
6" x 6" (15.24 x 15.24 cm)
Woodblock print by Annie Bissett depicting a Russian commemorative Podstakannik
Japanese woodblock (mokuhanga)
6" x 6" (15.24 x 15.24 cm)