I posted this a while ago on the Urban Guide for Alternate Use site, but the more I think about it, the more I love the concept, so thought I’d bring the idea over here. German artist and open source tech pioneer Aram Bartholl brings location-specific data to new levels with his Dead Drops project. Using a USB memory stick and the superfluous supply of pock-marked buildings in NYC, Aram set up an offline data sharing network in the city’s streets. As he explains on the Dead Drops website:

‘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.

While I try to get over my frustration that Aram didn’t tell me about this when I saw him recently in Berlin, here’s Aram giving a DIY lesson on how to transform buildings in your own city into Dead Drop data points:

Dead Drops ‘How to’ – NYC from aram bartholl on Vimeo.

You can check out his flickr gallery for more shots of him installing Dead Drops in New York, or go forth and install your own and register its location on the Dead Drops Database here.

One thought on “Buildings as Data Ports: Dead Drops

  1. I like it, but it seems like there could be a better, less awkward, way of doing it. I’d feel a little funny about standing up to a wall holding my laptop and a little fearful that someone would bump me causing me to drop my laptop or rip out my usb port.
    Also I think it would be interesting if the dead drops were dedicated to holding information about the neighborhood around the building they are installed in.

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