09 February 2014
SECRET CODEWORDS OF THE NSA: ICEBERG
woodblock print (mokuhanga)
6" x 6" (152.4 x 152.4 mm)
6 layers of color plus blind emboss on Kochi Kozo paper
I is for iceberg, which is "a major NSA backbone project," according to my list of 100 NSA secret code names. Not a lot to go on there, but it's probably something to do with the NSA grabbing data as it passes through the fiber optic cables that make up what is called the internet's backbone. Most of those cables lie deep in the oceans, and they carry phone and internet traffic from every country in the world, including the U.S.
It's funny, if you Google "NSA iceberg," there's nothing about the NSA Iceberg program, but you do get pages and pages of articles with headlines that say something like "NSA revelations the tip of the iceberg."
And in the news just this month, new documents leaked by Edward Snowden reveal that the NSA spied on other governments at the Copenhagen climate summit in 2009, giving U.S. negotiators advance information about other governments' positions. World leaders at that summit failed to agree to a strong deal on climate change.
This is the second time I've printed an icberg. The first one, titled "Known and Unknown," can be seen here. This new iceberg is basically the same shape as the old one, but more stylized with crystalline shapes. If you watch popular culture design/illustration at all, you may have noticed that these crystalline shapes are quit popular right now. That happens sometimes, where everybody just starts drawing something seemingly all at the same time. I first noticed this in the late 1990s when everywhere you looked people were drawing deer. Then there was a squid and octopus fad, and a couple of years ago I started seeing a whole lot of chandeliers. I don't know why that happens. Anyway, crystalline shapes are pretty common right now, so I'm joining the bandwagon. I think I'll be hopping the octopus bandwagon too, albeit late, on the next NSA print.