Weeping Angel, a flag with a code


Trevor Paglen never runs short of new ways to use media to conceptually attack the guardians of state espionage, and in his new work, “Weeping Angel”, he is siming his sights at another universal symbol, but this time with a different strategy. He has created a black flag with a weeping angel and a series of hexadecimal numbers surrounding it, all set within a circle. Flags are among the more direct forms of communication: they are limited in space and with must be created with the simplest forms and colours, as they need to be acknowledged and recognised by a whole population. Paglen challenged an online fan to crack the code, which was accomplished after three weeks by six people. This call for decoding also helped to share a relevant aspect: ”Weeping Angel” is also the code name of a hacking tool developed by CIA to spy on citizens. It works on internet-connected TVs, while they are apparently in “off” mode, sending recordings back to the agency. The flag is flying in 18 locations all over the US, with its now cracked code, being even more explicitly in sight.


Pledges of Allegiance: Trevor Paglen’s Weeping Angel