This is a digital film piece that I made after research about processes in cryptography and the language cryptographers use to describe parts of an encrypted system. In order to simplify conversation, code makers assign 'placeholder names' to various functions or entities in a system. For example, Alice is the codename given to the party encrypting and sending the message. Bob is the codename that refers to the party receiving and decrypting the message. So whenever the intended recipient is mentioned, they are simply referred to as 'Bob'.

There are a great many placeholder names assigned to various parts of the cryptographic system, and they all have very clearly defined and specific functions from which they never deviate. To this end, they called to mind characters in a melodrama. For example 'Eve' is an eavesdropper, a hypothetical hostile party in the system who is able to 'listen in' on the encrypted information but is not able to alter or change it. 'Mallory' is a malicious interloper who is able to intercept the message, alter it at will, and play back old messages.

I had been researching the early Baird televisors. The Wondrous Tale of Alice and Bob is a filmic cryptograph. The small, black and white image is reminiscent of the earliest transmitted television images, but it has been encrypted using a custom-written computer programme which distorts the image in such a way that it is only visible in its original form when viewed reflected in the surface of a conical mirror, seen directly from above.

The work is about the struggle for human communication.

It was exhibited at Ghost Station, an exhibition at Bletchley Park in 2012 marking the centenary of the birth of Alan Turing. The show was curated by Arthertz.

Many thanks to Prabhu Mudliar for his help.