18 February 2014


woodblock print (mokuhanga)
6" x 6" (152.4 x 152.4 mm)
10 layers of color plus blind emboss on Kochi Kozo paper
edition: 20

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

The English word juggernaut is derived from the Sanskrit word Jagannātha, which is an alternate name for the Hindu god Krishna that means "world lord." Pretty strong stuff. 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.

Lest you think I'm overstating my case regarding the opinion the NSA has of itself, please view exhibit A to the left. This is 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). Please note that this logo has not been altered by the artist -- the words "nothing is beyond our reach" are indeed a part of the seal. Clearly the agency isn't worried about public perceptions of overreach.

I wanted to work with this logo, but it's so god-awful ugly I felt a need to make some adjustments for my little NSA Primer. 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.


Wade said...

This looks great. I'll admit a lot of bias based on the fact that I've had octopi on my mind as of late and have been working on a few... This is an excellent addition to your thought-provoking series.


Annie B said...

Thanks, Wade. I look forward to seeing your octopi!