Digital glory holes
FIRST TO EXPLAIN: Exceedingly hog-tied with life, work and huffing keyboard duster lately, so I’m more than a week behind in these entries—for which I apologize profusely to my loyal disciples (i.e., friends I pay); to you flakes who only visit desultorily, I owe you nothing.
That being said, let’s go back 9 days and live in that world. Happy 13 November, true believers. Now let’s learn something new.
They’re called dead drops. They’re a social experiment and guerrilla art installation, personally installed by one German media artist Aram Bartholl across New York City as part of his residency at EYEBEAM (the leading not-for-profit art and technology center in the US). And they look like this:
and are found in places like this:
So what purpose do these dead drops serve, other than some new public protrusion to catch your sweater on? Herr Bartholl elucidates:
‘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.
Sounds like an idyllic endeavor of randomized file-sharing—one where unicorn pictures, Hello Kitty games and instructional videos on how to darn your socks are freely circulated among church groups and she-male prostitutes alike. Huzzah, Aram Bartholl!
Call me Chicken Little, but it’s only a matter of time before dead drops become digital cesspools. I want to believe the best in humanity, but let’s face reality. Like its analog cousin the glory hole, a dead drop sure looks like a lot of fun at first—but it’s really just a super way to catch something unpleasant that you could certainly live without.
All the same, I wholeheartedly applaud Bartholl for his efforts. What a kickass, intriguing idea—provided you don’t live in rain-heavy environs. Here’s how he installed them, at 24 frames per second:
If you live in the Tri-State area, I suggest you check them out before digital-savvy pond scum defile them. Bartholl installed the original 5 dead drops at these locations:
Just be sure to use protection prior to insertion.
by dint of Laughing Squid