Hollow rock turns into a router full of survival info when you build a fire beside it

Keepalive is Aram Bartholl's fake hollow boulder in the woods of Neuenkirchen, Germany. It conceals a thermoelectric generator that powers a router configured to serve documents related to wilderness survival. The router switches on if the rock is sufficiently warmed, say by a blazing campfire adjacent to it.

It's based on Piratebox, a standalone Internet router project for file-sharing.

It's not the only art/artificial boulder project, though: Ed Ruscha claims to have made an artificial boulder called "Rocky II" and hidden it somewhere in the Mojave, where it is visually indistinguishable from the surrounding rocks, making it all but impossible to find.

While the actual, technical realization of the piece leaves something to be desired—by which I simply mean that there is just a large metal plate hiding the cavity inside of which the router is stored, which is visually disappointing—I love the idea that a better-hidden version of this might actually serve a real survivalist purpose someday.

Out on the remote periphery of the city, where you and your family agree to meet should there ever be an earthquake, a hurricane, or an act of terrorism or war, a cached collection of digital files waits utterly hidden from view, sealed inside a boulder with no visible exterior signs. When the Big One hits, out to your hot rock you go.

Of course, in real life, you’d doubtless lose track of the thing and spend two agonizing weeks lighting fire after fire after fire under every boulder in the region, desperately checking your dying phones to see if the digital documents appear… and they never do…

Hot Rock, Lost Rock, Router [Geoff Manaugh/BLDGBLOG]

Notable Replies

  1. Imagine yourself wandering lost, hungry, cold, and possibly injured in the German forests. You find what is obviously a hollow rock. Salvation at last! What might be inside? A sleeping bag? A tarp? Emergency rations and fresh drinking water? The first aid supplies you need so deperately? No, you idiot, stop guessing already. IT'S A ROUTER! Filled with survival information. But you can't access that information. If you had a working phone you would have already called for help.

  2. The obvious mod would be to add an external USB port that is powered by the thermoelectric generator.

    Then, all you need to do is read the documents stored in the rock on how to build a fire..... err, wait...

  3. And I would use my last remaining caloric energy to smash that fucken thing into oblivion, just before I joined it.

    Using TrueCrypt, or some variation thereof, to encrypt specific files, or to encrypt whole virtual disks, which can then be copied or moved as you might copy or move any other digital file.

    That's one hell of an interesting bit of collection development for our unfindable survival rock:

  4. Or you could just leave a survival book and some supplies in a sealed container.

  5. Seriously. This is straight out of a LucasArts adventure game.

    Light fire
    Use fire on rock
    Use laptop on rock
    Read survival documents
    Build shelter
    Etc.

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