Dead Drops – Offline Digital File Sharing

I haven’t posted much as of late, as I’m knee-deep in research and keep forgetting all the cool things I bookmark. But! I stumbled across this today and figured I had to share. The Dead Drop Project is an art installation all over New York City. It originally started with Berlin artist Aram Bartholl installing 5 Dead Drops in public spaces.

What are Dead Drops, you ask? They’re blank USB sticks that are cemented into trees, walls, basically any publicly accessible outdoor material/space. The sticks must be completely accessible to anyone, meaning they can’t be located behind locked doors of any kind/areas that are privately owned. This definitely screams “public access,” as the idea is that information should be widely accessible and never restricted. The USB sticks are there for anyone to upload and download files, as a way of “dumping” files through peer-to-peer file sharing networks in completely public spaces that are categorically “offline,” i.e. unattached to a computerized interface or Internet cloud.

Bartholl encourages anyone and everyone to use the USB sticks, as way to anonymously share files through a type of augmented reality. The folks over at Cyborgology rightly point out that in terms of digital dualism, the Dead Drop project’s offline file sharing idea complicates the divide between physical and digital. This isn’t strictly a multi-media project, as the USB hardware merges with something natural, and the tree or wall will then contain digital files that would normally be found in a computer.

Bartholl says is best: “Each Dead Drop is singular in its existence. A very beautiful Dead Drop shows only the metal sheath enclosed type-A USB plug and is cemented into walls.You would hardly notice it. Dead Drops don’t need any cables or wireless technology. Your knees on the ground or a dirty jacket on the wall is what it takes share files offline. A Dead Drop is a naked piece of passively powered Universal Serial Bus technology embedded into the city, the only true public space. In an era of growing clouds and fancy new devices without access to local files we need to rethink the freedom and distribution of data. The Dead Drops movement is on its way for change!

Free your data to the public domain in cement! Make your own Dead Drop now! Un-cloud your files today!!!”

I love stuff like this.





3 thoughts on “Dead Drops – Offline Digital File Sharing

  1. Pingback: Dead Drops – Offline Digital File Sharing | Effingham Creative Community

  2. What an awesome idea! I am all for sharing ideas! The age of intellectual property and forming patenting ideas needs to die already! How are we to evolve if we horde information from one another??

    • I’m all for sharing ideas, but the part of this that really interests me is the fact that its also meant for us to “unload” our digital rolodexes so that they’re no longer occupying previous “space” in our already overloaded brains. When we blog, we unload our ideas onto a digital platform that’s freely available on the Internet, to many more people. This USB stick is the equivalent of writing down thoughts on a piece of paper and leaving it on a public park bench, where only a handful will find it.

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