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'Dead Drops' Create Worldwide File-Sharing Platform

A Berlin media artist installed USB cords in buildings all over the world beginning in 2010.

Today, there are about 1,400 dead drop locations across the globe with around 900 GB of data transferred to and from the USB drives.

"Dead Drops" is a worldwide, peer file-sharing platform where people can upload or download files anonymously. USB drives are embedded into walls in cities like New York, Paris, Los Angeles and Dakar, Senegal.

According to the 2010 "Dead Drop Manifesto," a "Dead Drop" is a "a naked piece of passively powered Universal Serial Bus technology embedded into the city, the only true public space."

Aram Bartholl, the creator of "Dead Drops," said he installed the first five "Dead Drops" in New York City in 2010 while he served as the artist in residence at EYEBEAM, a nonprofit art and technology center.

Bartholl added that his vision of the perfect "Dead Drop" location would be an outdoor and public space where anyone can sync up to the data.

“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,” Bartholl wrote in his manifesto.

Curators at the Musesum of Modern Art featured "Dead Drops" in an exhibition called "Talk to Me," an exhibit exploring the relationship between objects and communication.

Users can plug their laptops into the USB drive and share files with others who decide to add their own data.

Each time a user installs files from a "Dead Drop," he or she will receive a readme.txt explaining the project.

Bartholl said he created the original "Dead Drops" as a way for people to rethink how they share data.

“Free your data to the public domain in cement! Make your own Dead Drop now! Un-cloud your files today,” Bartholl concluded in his manifesto.

Sources: Hellou, Dead Drops, Techaeris

Photo Credit: Hellou


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