usb

Dead drop letter boxes refer to secret locations sometimes used by spies to exchange items or letters without requiring them to meet or use official postal services. As part of his ongoing residency with EYEBEAM in New York City, the artist Aram Bartholl has updated the concept for the modern age. His Dead Drops project involves placing USB flash drives around the city; fastening them to walls, curbs, and buildings; and inviting strangers to plug-in their laptops and share their favorite files or data.

 

[Aram Bartholl] is building his own filesharing network that screws those fat cats who want to control your freedom. He’s added file cache devices throughout NYC (five so far but more to come) that are anonymous and free to use. Upload what you want, download what you want. They’re completely offline which means monitoring who’s doing what gets a lot harder and quite possibly requires a warrant from a Judge (we’re obviously not legal experts, your mileage may vary).

As for the slew of comments that are sure to point out the dangers of malicious USB device; We think everyone knows they’re taking on some risk when connecting to a USB plug protruding from a brick wall.

 

Have you ever had the urge to randomly dump a massive amount of files in a public location so that any passerby could share in the fun? Yeah, I didn’t think so. But a new EYEBEAM project being conducted by NYC resident Aram Bartholl is pretty cool. He’s essentially running around downtown New York and installing flash drives, called “Dead Drops” into anything and everything — walls, curbs, posts, etc. The idea is that people are to share random files with one another, offline and on the go.

The concept is pretty cool to think about. Though I’m not too sure just strolling up to some random flash drive jutting out of the wall and then hooking it into my computer is the safest thing to do. Nevertheless, it’s a cool social/tech concept. Any NYC residents run into any of these “Dead Drops” yet?

Step inside for a few shots of what these Dead Drop stations look like…

 

The idea behind this morning’s post about USB flash drives struck me last night/this morning on a whim. Through absolutely no coordination whatsoever, I noticed the appearance of a photopool series on Flickr with every photo labeled “Dead Drops.” From the photos in the pool it appears someone1 is going around New York epoxying and cementing USB flash drives into public crevices. 2

A dead drop is, according to Wikipedia, “a location used to secretly pass items between two people, without requiring them to meet.”

Now, for the questions:

Who is doing this and why? Why those locations? What are on these drives? Where are they? Is someone mapping them? Are they read-only? 3 And, how long before someone sitting on a park bench or leaning up against a phone booth scrapes themselves on one of these?

 

As part of his EYEBEAM residency Aram Bartholl has been installing USB flash drive “Dead Drops” around NYC to encourage people to anonymously share files offline in public spaces. Here’s more info and photos of the project.

 

Aram Bartholl is mortaring USB drives into walls, curbs, and buildings around New York. These dead drops, as he terms them, are peer-to-peer file transfer points with true anonymity. Bartholl has a residency with EYEBEAM, a truly fascinating incubator of and studio for new ideas in technology and art.

 
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