‘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.

I  am a Berlin based media artist and started  the ‘Dead Drops’ project during my stay in NYC at EYEBEAM as artist in residence, October 2010. Dead Drops was part of the show “Talk to Me” at the MoMA  July-Nov 2011.

Aram Bartholl 2010

Dead Drops ‘How to’ video

The first 5 Dead Drops were installed by Aram Bartholl in NYC, Oct. 2010.

Prefer Youtube? Get the video here youtube.com/watch?v=hwohadcUv4A

Better browsing on full size window map here!

The first 5 Dead Drops were installed by Aram Bartholl in NYC, October 2010

87 3rd Avenue, Brooklyn, NY (Makerbot)
Empire Fulton Ferry Park, Brooklyn, NY (Dumbo)
235 Bowery, NY (New Museum)
Union Square, NY (Subway Station 14th St)
540 West 21st Street, NY (Eyebeam)

Dead Drops picture set on flickr

Dead Drops picture set on flickr


  1. traek
    Posted November 5, 2010 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    worst fucking techno-hipster idea i’ve ever heard, within a day it’ll be filled with amateur porn, child porn, or viruses

    • Drew
      Posted November 10, 2010 at 12:51 am | Permalink

      What do you honestly think will be accomplished with this? The internet is as free to use as this is (go to the library), and this is far less secure than any file sharing around. Not to mention that this isn’t P2P at all, or the fact that weather conditions will ruin your drive, or worse, someone’s laptop.

      “But woah, I can totally share my band’s music on this”. Yeah, or you could upload it to one of the many free websites that are built around doing just this. That way, you wont’ have to trek down to the subway and occupy the payphone while you upload.

      If I want to share files with people, I’ll upload it somewhere, or give them my email address, and I’ll send it more directly. I’m not going to waste a flash drive and mighty-putty it to the bottom of a payphone.

      I just don’t see the value of this.

      • Jester
        Posted November 10, 2010 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

        You simply don’t understand.. This is a new way of sharing files and interests, less impersonal and more phisical.. nowadays if you want a file you just have to type the search in the browser, and 2 seconds later you find what you’re looking for. This won’t replace the p2p, is just a good idea to surprise people who are walking in the streets, and spread innovation.

        • Posted November 15, 2010 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

          I could not have said it any better myself Jester

        • Kva
          Posted November 16, 2010 at 4:22 am | Permalink

          It’s not innovation.
          It’s not P2P.
          It’s not anything new.

          It’s just another way for hipsters to plug in their Macs, and scream “INOVASHIUN” all day.

          I hope somebody creates one with 110V as output.

          • Emily
            Posted December 3, 2010 at 4:09 am | Permalink

            Everyone has a right to their own opinions. If you don’t like the idea, then don’t participate. There is no need to be rude or hateful. What does that accomplish? No one is telling you to like it. I think this is a good idea but I respect the fact that you don’t agree.

    • witefro
      Posted November 14, 2010 at 1:43 am | Permalink

      I was going to comment, but you expressed my sentiment perfectly.

      • Rolf Zullig
        Posted November 14, 2010 at 2:55 am | Permalink

        I second that!

    • Posted November 15, 2010 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      Much easier to deal with rather than a website : HAMMER TIME!

    • Vendetta
      Posted November 17, 2010 at 9:10 am | Permalink

      This hole debate here about child porn and other illegal stuff and risks ist just bullshit!

      First off this idea is great and because of some idiots sharing illegals stuff, it shouldnt be stopped. Second these guys also wouldnt drop off at a public spot. PPL do these stuff anonymously on the net not on a public spot where they can get taped by some cctv or get caught by some feds.


  2. Posted November 5, 2010 at 10:38 am | Permalink
  3. Marko Webbaldo
    Posted November 5, 2010 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    I like the idea!, retro mixed with modern.

    To the complainers, thats the problem with the world now, ‘everything is dangerous’, wrap everything in cotton wool.

    I could buy a fork and stab someone with it, yet I can also eat my lunch with it. Get a life!

    • Charlie
      Posted November 15, 2010 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

      WTF is cotton wool?

  4. hobknob
    Posted November 5, 2010 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    If you see one of these in a restroom DO NOT put anything into it.

    I learned the HARD WAY.

    • Posted November 21, 2010 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

      Care to share what happened⁇

      • John
        Posted January 30, 2011 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

        Matthias seriously?! Come on! Use a little imagination. I’m sure you’ll get there.

  5. Bwian
    Posted November 5, 2010 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    i´m trying to install one in germany tonight but maybe i have to deal with epoxy putty
    i´ll try my best