Summer 2012

Postcard / Proxy Cipher Vietnam

Criminal code

Frank Heath

Encrypted text reads: According to the current mailing standards of the United States Postal Service International Mail Manual, sending this postcard is a violation of United States Postal Service regulations prohibiting “invisible ink, codes, ciphers, symbols or other types of secret correspondence, and shorthand notes” mailed from the United States to Vietnam. This message is encrypted using a simple substitution cipher shifting each character three letters forward in the alphabet. Also known as a Caesar Cipher, this code was Julius Caesar’s method for protecting military correspondence. In a traditional fashion, the final ciphertext is written in fixed groups omitting punctuation and spaces. In the event of a seizure, return, or penalty from this action, the return addressee will be held responsible.

Frank Heath is an artist based in New York. His first solo exhibition in New York, “Post Holes,” opened at Simone Subal Gallery in spring 2012. His work was recently included in “Someone Has Stolen Our Tent” at Simon Preston Gallery, New York, and in “Matter Out of Place” at the Kitchen, New York.

If you’ve enjoyed the free articles that we offer on our site, please consider subscribing to our nonprofit magazine. You get twelve online issues and unlimited access to all our archives.