Stephen Joss and Ramin Bahari, Hidden Characters

DispatchesArt & Culture

Stephen Joss and Ramin Bahari, Hidden Characters

Would you give your internet passwords to a stranger? Art project unearths the stories behind the codes...

What’s your password? I’m not asking. If I were, likeliness is I’d be looking for the back of your hand; at least. Folk are increasingly wary of online security, that Snowden chap a nagging reminder that we all could, and should, do more. But, somehow, Amsterdam-based creatives Stephen Joss and Ramin Bahari have been tootling around their city encouraging strangers to share their most personal online possession. Must be the weed.

Stephen Joss and Ramin Bahari, Hidden Characters

pulsar98: It’s the name of a sound card. I used it in the studio in the year 1998.

Hidden Characters is an exploration of the personality behind online anonymity, Joss and Bahari unveiling the people and stories behind the passwords. The name of a sound-card and the date you used it in the studio; your soft spot for Brazil; a made-up word between boyfriend and girlfriend; a recollection of a youthful obsession with Japanese animation; just some of the tales that have informed the secure codes of the project’s subjects.

The ongoing project, taking the form of website and social accounts, is a thoughtful humanisation of a phenomenon that’s a piece of everyday life taken for granted. How many times have you rattled out those same few characters? How long has that same phrase been ingrained on the front of your mind? Deeply personal, what do our passwords say about who we are?

@hiddenchars

Alj3B3DANKT

Alj3B3DANKT
It’s a word me and my girlfriend made up; it’s ‘thank you’ and ‘you’re welcome’ at the same time. We used to say it whenever we gave each other something, because with love, whatever you give to each other you always get something in return. And you have to stay grateful for it.

10jaarcatta

10jaarcatta
A few years ago me and my girlfriend had our 10 year anniversary. Her name is Catta.

Averagejoe

Averagejoe
‘When I was growing up in Canada, there was this song called ‘Joe and the Button Factory’. We always sang it while we played with buttons at day care. I became a little obsessed with the name ‘Joe’. When it was time to choose a password I thought of ‘Averagejoe’, and it just worked. For everything.

P@$s!1337

P@$s!1337
I work in IT. When I choose a password I always use random words and numbers. I then switch some of them with special characters, like dollar signs or hashtags. Random characters are great agains hackers!

Global Breakthrough Energy Movement

globalBEM
It means “Global Breakthrough Energy Movement.” We are a global network that supports scientists the field of clean, sustainable and world changing energy. Like Tesla is doing. But unlike Tesla, real scientists are poor. So we fight for funding and exposure for their ideas.

Stephen Joss and Ramin Bahari

Stephen Joss and Ramin Bahari:
TamTam01
Timtam’s are a famous chocolate biscuits in Australia, my fiancée’s sister visited us in Amsterdam recently and bought over a packet for us. Because it was in March I added a 03 to the end of it.
ghostits
I used to be crazy about Japanese animation. I have boxes full with rare DVD’s back at my parents house. Ghost in the Shell was the first DVD I ever bought and the one that started my collection, when I was 13 or 14 years old.

SAopAlo

SAopAlo
I lived in Brazil for about 3 years when I was young, and I was born in Rio years before. So it has always been my soft spot; Sao Paolo, Brazil, Brazilians, and so on…

Instagram