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]
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