mikob – place

My portrait project developed from a question of “How much will I be able to learn about somebody else?” This project inspired me to question whether the experiences and memories we regard as personal, could be predicted or asked by a stranger.

I always felt that password security questions evoke interesting nostalgia and upon research, I picked out the most common security questions relevant to a place. I picked out two questions, which suggested more ambiguous answers.

  • In what city were you born?
  • What was the house number and street name you lived in as a child?
  • In what town or city was your first full-time job?
  • In what town or city did you meet your spouse/partner?
  • In what town or city did your mother and father meet?
  • What was the name of your elementary/primary school?
  • Where were you when you first heard about 9/11?
  • Where were you when you had your first kiss?
  • Where did you go the first time you flew on a plane?
  • Where did you go on your honeymoon?
  • In what city or town does your nearest sibling live?

I used Amazon’s Mechanical Turk to collect answers from these questions and see if there are any patterns or common answers. I was able to collect 181 answers and trimmed out some, but it was not as much as I anticipated due to the short amount of collection time.

I initially thought about making a map or a visualization but Golan suggested making a book due to the amount of data I have. I wasn’t sure about the book idea at first, but I realized how having a collection of these answers can be a mesmerizing narrative as well.

Some inspirations:

The Sheep Market     Paper Airplanes by Harry Smith


First Kisses

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Local PDF Copy: book_kisses

One thought on “mikob – place”

  1. Comments from the Group Review.

    Created a collection of responses in order to understand the place: The “First-Kiss-Place”, “Die Erstenkussplatz”. Lovely conceptual work.

    Would have been poetic to resemble the setting up of an account.

    General feedback: what do you now know about demographics of mechanical turks? Can u suggest the feeling of password questions with the design of the textbox?

    Understanding a place or places, by constructing password-security-like questions, then asking people on Mechanical Turk those questions.

    Really impressed by the inspirations — the Harry Smith collections of paper airplanes.

    I feel like this is a really lovely approach to data that could be used for sinister intentions (gaining access to someone’s accounts) Kind of an exploration in trust

    Book is very well crafted- Thank you!


    I wonder if you could have asked a more specific question that would give richer data

    It would be interesting to get a bit more of a story through their places- requiring slightly more info?
    Can you gain access to people’s accounts now by knowing their answers to security questions ← this x100 +1!!!! <- She probably could. She could already get into some of my accounts-Syd make a book of mother’s maiden names and social security numbers, ha Printing them in a book was a lovely way to present the work, this does a nice job getting the reader to think; much more than if it were in some word cloud or other such representation. It would be interesting to see the representation somehow feel like what it’s like to actually fill out these password question fields. Maybe somehow evoking the internet could make this feel more special. Mechanical Turk may not be the best data source. Demographics are... unpredictable. What other ways to get these responses? Find a data breach dump and get actual answers from an actual account security question. Extremely good !!!!!!!! SO GOOD!!! I did something similar at CMU w/ the question “how are you feeling?” I love the way you organized the pages by place and have multiple peoples corresponding stories in the same location I love how clever and simple this is. + The way you’ve laid out the book, the typography and the page layout are really beautiful. I love how you turned the answers into a type of poetic collection. I’m so happy to see that a lot of first kisses are now their married partners! See some of Katie Rose Pipkin’s found/generative poetry work. ✔ Awesome layout, perfectly fits the poetry of the project +++✔