I don’t know if Aram Bartholl refers to himself as a street artist, but at least some of his works fall into this genre.
Dead Drops is one of them and an offline peer to peer file-sharing project. It consists of a USB-memory stick mounted in outer walls in the public space. By connecting your computer to the memory-stick you can download and upload files of your choice and thereby share files with others without using the Internet.
The USB-stick is embedded in the wall with only the connecting part sticking out. Aram Bartholl have installed five Dead Drops in New York. But you can find Dead Drops all over the world installed by others. On the project website you can search for Dead Drops in your neighbourhood or why not find out how to install one of your own.
Will writing this article I found out that there is one placed not far from where I live, at Ängelholmsgatan 1 in Malmö, Sweden.
Another similar project made by Bartholl is DVD Dead Drop which is permanently installed at the Museum of Moving Image in New York. It consists of a DVD slot mounted directly on the outer wall of the Museum. If you put a blank DVD into the slot you will receive featured content curated by Aram Bartholl or some other selected artist.
The first time I saw works by Bartholl was at Eyebeam in New York during the exhibition Open City: Tools For Public Action. The exhibition presented works by artists that use the public space as their arena by using different kinds of techniques and media, such as paint, projectors, live-actions etc. The exhibition was a co-work between Eyebeam and Graffiti Research Lab and a great exhibition with some really nice projects that I will probably write some more about further on.
The work that Aram Bartholl presented at the show was First Person Shooter – a postcard as a do-it-yourself kit. The postcard has glasses formed as classic 3D glasses printed on it that can be cut out and worn. On the glasses, you see an arm with a weapon. The project refers to computer games with the main focus on shooting, like Counter Strike. The weapon will remain in front of you as you turn your head.
We live in a continuously changing digital era where new ideas and technologies quickly grow old and out of date. Today, it has become a triviality to use computers in our daily life, at work as well as at home. Since Internet became available for most people, in 1994, we have became more and more dependent on it. We all search for information, store and share files by using the Internet. Adam Bartholl reflects on the development of media and the Internet. He raises the question how do they influence us?
The fact that Arams Dead Drop’s are installed at different places all over the world, which you physically have to visit in order to share the files on each of them, makes me thrilled. It provides another perspective on daily routines and small things that we take for granted today.