Finders Keepers: Security, Poetry, and Performance

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Poetry for Password Security

The average web user has around 25 accounts that require passwords, and types an average of 8 passwords per day, according to one study. The numbers vary depending on the research and the year, but the problem of creating passwords both secure and memorable is certainly one with which most of us are familiar. Researchers Kevin Knight and Marjan Ghazvininejad have a solution: poetry.

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The researchers created a generator for passwords that turns “random strings of characters into rhymed, metered verse.” They found that poems, even automatically generated poems, were far more memorable than sentences – and of course, more memorable than a nonsense string. Knight says:

One of our famous researchers in the field said computers are eventually going to be able to translate very well, but they won’t be able to translate poetry,” he says. “So I kind of took that as a personal challenge.

Art and the Surveillance State

In his exhibition at Metro Pictures, artist Trevor Paglen explores NSA surveillance through his deep sea photos of transoceanic fiber-optic communications cables (“the backbone of the global internet”), in addition to his works of collage, video, photographs of shorelines, sculpture, and code names presented as scrolling text.

Across three vertically oriented TV monitors scrolls an alphabetized list of more than 4,000 code names for NSA surveillance programs, picked up from the Snowden cables. The names are laugh-out-loud absurd, including such gems as “Taco Suave,” “Ferret Cannon,” and “Stodgy Loaf.” In such a decontextualized, endless stream, the code names form a found poetry of the fish-riding-a-bicycle genre

For more on where poetry meets surveillance, check out Privacy Policy: The Anthology of Surveillance Poetics (Black Ocean).

PALAIS Magazine John Giorno Issue

Issue 22 of PALAIS magazine is entirely devoted to the Ugo Rondinone‘s exhibition I Love John Giorno at the Palais de Tokyo (October 21, 2015–January 10, 2016), the first retrospective of the life and work of the American poet John Giorno, a key figure of America’s counterculture since the 1960s.

Read the issue online. And BOMB Magazine has an interview with Giorno, here’s a taste:

When I write a poem, I don’t start with a concept but with something that arises in my mind. From the very beginning, in 1962, and when I first used collage, in 1965, my effort was to mirror the endless thoughts constantly changing in my mind, in everybody’s mind. As metaphors I used images from outside of my mind: found images. You could call that cut-up—the way the mind actually works.



Photo by the Opte Project (Wiki Commons)

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