Peer-to-peer goes off the grid

Aram Bartholl, a resident artist at EYEBEAM art & technology center, is mortaring USB drives into brick walls and curbstones throughout New York City and inviting people to use them to share files. Here’s how he describes the project at his blog:

�Dead Drops� is an anonymous, offline, peer to peer file-sharing network in public space. USB flash drives are embedded into walls, buildings and curbs accessible to anybody in public space. Everyone is invited to drop or find files on a dead drop. Plug your laptop to a wall, house or pole to share your favorite files and data. Each dead drop is installed empty except a readme.txt file explaining the project. �Dead Drops� is open to participation. If you want to install a dead drop in your city/neighborhood follow the �how to� instructions and submit the location and pictures.

Bartholl has made a video demonstrating how to participate in the project:

Bartholl notes that while the Bowery dead-drop drive was vandalized, anonymous participants have installed two new drives elsewhere in the city. Critics have correctly noted that the “network” is highly vulnerable to malicious code as well as physical vandalism. And yet as a model of a secret, peer-to-peer sharing network, Bartholl’s intervention is compellingly utopian: drives secreted in hard-to-find locales, where they’re visited by the hardiet cognoscenti. I’m also reminded of people who leave books on subway trains for unknown others to find. Got files you want to share? Put them on a thumb drive and set them adrift�messages in a bottle for our wired world.


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One comment

  1. The rain will rust them 🙂

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