LIFE AS MYTH

Index

spacer

JOURNAL

Index

spacer

LIFEWORKS

About

spacer

ARCHIVES

Index

spacer

 

 

 

COMING AUTUMN 2015
spacer

SEEING THE FOOTPRINTS

 

(above) This footprint primer shows the intersection between the distinctive online activity documented in the access logs of my web site, lifeasmyth.com, and the offline world of Edward Snowden (May 20 2011, 2012, 2013). The footprints featured at the beginning of the primer are from a street installation in Dublin, Ireland. (left) Picture Two: Noticing the footprints. Ten Oxherding Pictures. Attributed to Shubun (n.d.) Japan, Muromachi period. Handscroll, ink and light colors on paper.

As journalist Glenn Greenwald wrote in his book No Place To Hide, Snowden claims he could have left no trace on the NSA’s network due to its lack of audit controls. But he said he instead left behind some “footprints” to show NSA investigators that he had acted alone and to prevent suspicion of his coworkers.
“Snowden: I Left the NSA Clues, But They Couldn’t Find Them,” Andy Greenberg, Wired Magazine (August 13, 2014)

I remember when it happened.  I was in Dublin, standing at an intersection near Temple Bar.  My hands were deep in my coat pockets; my body taut and clenched against the damp air.  The wind was coming off the Liffey and cut through my sweaters and hat and trench coat. This was not unseasonably cold, a local told me.  Dublin is like this all summer long.  Then I remembered how the Irish battled famine and damp to carve out a life on this stone in the Irish Sea and I watched the red faces of Irish workers in black coats and jeans trudge into the Liffey wind and I saw my own face there, with cheeks all flushed and soft and freckled.

That trip to Ireland began on a Friday in May 2012 when I purchased a deep-discount travel package to Dublin. I knew it was the right choice but I didn’t know why.  Two days into my trip I was walking along the freezing hem of the Liffey near the place where Westmoreland and D’Olier Streets merge at the O’Connell Bridge.  I had already been to Trinity College to view the Book of Kells and I had walked to 15 Usher’s Island to pay my respects to the site of Joyce’s “The Dead”.  I had eaten steak and Guinness pie for lunch and now I was waiting on the median at the foot of the bridge for the light to change, standing where some Irish artist embedded brass footprints in the concrete.  That’s where it happened.  That's the place where the door opened and light flooded in and I knew: 
    
This is the story of e. 
    
The crosswalk light changed to green and I walked on to the bridge over the Liffey . . .

 

spacer

COMING AUTUMN 2015
spacer

DEUS EX MACHINA

Screen shot of my iPad version of Malcolm Gladwell's David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling (2014). During the fall of 2013, while studying at Columbia University, I noticed that sections of my digital textbooks had alterations that I didn't make. The most radical examples are in this e-book by Malcolm Gladwell (2014). I haven't read past the opening section but the book is now heavily highlighted and bookmarked. There are nine highlighted screens and two bookmarked ones. The highlighted screens focus on how battles against "Goliaths" are won by smaller opponents. The bookmarked pages are the narratives of students who are adversely impacted by their Ivy League educations.

 

In the meantime, Snowden tells WIRED—perhaps with a certain amount of schadenfreude — that the government’s overestimation of the size of his leak has left it to imagine the worst. “I think they think there’s a smoking gun in there that would be the death of them all politically,” Snowden says. “The fact that the government’s investigation failed—that they don’t know what was taken and that they keep throwing out these ridiculous huge numbers—implies to me that somewhere in their damage assessment they must have seen something that was like, ‘Holy shit.’ And they think it’s still out there.”
“Snowden: I Left the NSA Clues, But They Couldn’t Find Them,” Andy Greenberg, Wired Magazine (August 13, 2014)

 

spacer

COMING AUTUMN 2015
spacer

THE CRYPTOGRAMS

Post-Script. Riddlespeak series, working drawing. 2012. Visual sources: The Tower or The House of God. Tarot de Marseille, the deck of Jean Dodal. 1701-15. Designs for 20th century US postal graphics. Designs for 20th century Australian postmarks, stamps, and/or postal graphics. 20th Century photograph (detail) of Grand Jury panel. The cryptogram series identifies embedded messages in the code; just exactly what these messages meant sometimes took a few years to understand.

With a single poetic detail, the imagination confronts us with a new world.
Gaston Bachelard, The poetics of space. 1994.

This cryptogram, Post-Script (2012), is part of a multi-media art series called Riddlespeak. The Riddlespeak Project fuses technological data with other communication forms -- stamps, photographs, postal graphics, fine arts -- to create narrative art. It also gives form to the perils and possibilities found within the Internet's global community.

Is the intelligence of the Internet much more than the sum of its machines? What is this new alternate reality, this cyber world that now interfaces with our terrestial one? The Riddlespeak Project explores our brave new world through questions and riddles, through technology and imagination, through the story of one woman and her relationship with a machine.

spacer

COMING AUTUMN 2015
spacer

WE WILL BE COMING FOR YOU

Watercolor series, self-portrait. Usher. March 2011; Forever21 Selfie, Lindsay Mills. There has been speculation about code hidden in the blog and self-portraiture of Lindsay Mills, the romantic partner of Edward Snowden. One of the first to pose the possibility was Peter Sheridan, a reporter for The Dail Mail in the United Kingdom (October 19, 2013): "Are lover's enigmatic photos a secret message to 'traitor' Edward Snowden? . . . She added cryptic titles to the pictures, made up of punctuation symbols . . . Some have speculated they are visual clues that only he would understand . . . They are her first communication since spying scandal exploded in June."

"The inability to control one's environment has repeatedly been shown to create not only anger and frustration but, eventually, deep and often insurmountable depression. In a sense, inducing learned helplessness makes a person give up."
"Trying to cure depression, but inspiring torture," Maria Konnikova, New Yorker.

. . . [she] was an Assistant District Attorney in the Child Abuse and Family Violence Bureau of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. She was working part-time when I first met her, balancing work and a family with small children. In 2008 our lives aligned through the assistance of someone in the Department of Justice.

May 31, 2011 was our last meeting. She had relayed to me through my attorney that talking to me was a waste of her time but she had agreed to meet with me on this day. I had been frustrated and upset in our previous meetings by my failure to describe the stalking adequately and the more obstacles I encountered the harder I tried to clarify, to improve my explanation of how it worked. Yet every time I began to describe it to her, or anyone else for that matter, I was tentative and embarrassed. It was the truth, a remarkable and wild truth, but a truth that sounded like nonsense, even to my ear.

There were four of us in the meeting. [The] ADA, a female detective, a cybercrimes prosecutor, me. A few minutes into the meeting and I realized that this was not going to go well.

. . . “You have come to me four times and asked me to look at new evidence and each time I have looked but this time it is over.  This investigation is now closed.  Do not call me again.  Do not send me any more evidence.  Call the police.  Call 911.  I don’t care.  Just don’t call me . . . You are at great risk.  I am afraid that the next time we are going to be coming for you.” 

 

spacer