You Can't Tell Your USB from a Hole in the Wall

dead_drop_grey.jpg

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.

The project has five initial locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn, with more to come. Bartholl has posted a photo gallery of the installations, too.

The furtiveness of squeezing your laptop or mobile against a wall is rather intimate--these may be dead drops, but they're also data glory holes. And one more thing, too. The concept pricked at my memory, until I remembered the Finn from William Gibson's Neuromancer universe. In Mona Lisa Overdrive, the Finn has lost his corporeal form, but Molly seeks out his advice in a disreputable alley.

A tight beam of very bright light...descended until it found the thing at the base of the wall, dull metal, an upright rounded fixture that Kumiko mistook for another ventilator...

Sally stepped forward, the beam held steady, and Kimiko saw that the armored thing was bolted into the brickwork with massive rivets. "Finn?"...

"Moll." A grating quality, as if through a broken speaker. "What's with the flash?"

Image by Aram Bartholl via Creative Commons.