Eight volumes of Forgot Your Password? contain all 4.7 million stolen LinkedIn passwords.
In a series of eight books, you and anyone else can look at LinkedIn users’ passwords. Artist Aram Bartholl was able to find the 4.7 million stolen and leaked LinkedIn passwords from last year, which he compiled into Forgot Your Password?, a hardcover eight-volume set of 800 pages each that will travel to different galleries next year.
The passwords are listed by themselves with no ties to usernames or real identities. The most entertaining part of Bartholl’s art project is seeing how similar passwords can be. Listed in alphabetical order, a sample page shows long list of passwords all starting with “Noah.” We can only wonder how many passwords are “password.”
Forgot Your Password? has been shown at contemporary art gallery Carroll/Fletcher in London earlier this year, and it will be shown at Unpainted, a media art fair for new media art, early next year in Munich.
Before people start exclaiming, “This is art?!” it’s important to understand a large part of modern art is up to the viewer to perceive. Passwords are private for a reason; no one puts their password on display, which is why the LinkedIn’s security breach was a huge problem for the company. Seeing one’s own password (hopefully changed by now) on display in an art gallery seems so odd, but it’s an intimate detail of a person you don’t know.
Perhaps Bartholl’s next project should be a list of the NSA’s hacks?