Crossbows and Cryptography

Crossbows to Cryptography

16 x 20 inch

Mixed media on canvas

“This device will bring an end to civilization” said Pope Innocent of the crossbow in the 11th Century.

He was right. It helped bring about the end of feudalism. At the time a knight was like a battle tank almost invincible. Swords and longbows took years to master. But with the crossbow a simple peasant could learn to point and shoot in minutes and defeat a knight or the feudal lord’s tax collector.

This painting, inspired by Chuck Hammill’s 1987 essay “From Crossbows To Cryptography: Techno-Thwarting The State” in which he compares crossbows and cryptography, as well other technologies which have and can be used to equalize the power structure and fight tyranny.

His essay was mounted on canvas, and then painted on top. Paint was subtracted from certain section to highlight certain words and phrases.

detail of Crossbows to Cryptography

read the essay Crossbows to Cryptography