ARTWORK > Secret Codewords of the NSA

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)

J is for juggernaut. The NSA's JUGGERNAUT program "picks up all signals from mobile networks."

The English word juggernaut is derived from an ancient Sanskrit word jagannatha, which means "world lord." In our time, the word juggernaut has come to mean a literal or metaphorical force which is mercilessly destructive and unstoppable. The NSA's name choices are quite revealing in terms of how these agencies see themselves: "unstoppable world lord" is pretty unambiguous.

This image is based on a logo that was placed on a recent spy satellite, the NROL-39 mission, that was sent into orbit by the NRO (National Reconnaissance Office). Clearly the agency isn't worried about public perceptions of overreach. I modeled the face and mouth of my octopus on Hokusai's woodblock print "The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife" which depicts an octopus performing cunnilingus on a young woman. It just seemed appropriate.

Ten applications of color, with blind emboss
Kochi Kozo paper
edition: 20