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Dead Drop your files into random USB flash drives

Not sure if you’ve heard this around the water cooler, but apparently we’re living smack in the middle of the Free Information Age, which means we have unprecedented access to (random, often incorrect) knowledge and ideas more than any other generation. Go us! To give the whole “free knowledge” concept a more literal twist, Berlin-based media artist, Aram Bartholl, launched his latest project, “Dead Drops,” by mounting USB flash drives into walls, buildings and curbs. The idea is that folks can come plug-in and download goofy, anonymous files, or share a few of their own.

Since its kickoff last October, when Bartholl was working in residence at New York’s EYEBEAM center, the Dead Drop project has become a global phenomenon, with new file-drop locations popping up in hundreds of countries all over the world. Artist Tobias Leingruber recently mounted a flash drive on an old NSA security station, claiming the drive itself contained Cold War files (appropriate, considering the phrase “dead drop” originally referred to secret info transfers between Soviet spies).

Of course, there’s something kind of tech-slutty about jamming your beloved laptop into a gizmo on the wall. Upon learning about the project, my first thought was “sounds like a good way to completely fry another computer.” But I don’t want to be a stick in the mud. I can info-swing. Maybe this is the perfect opportunity to unload some of the embarrassing photos my boyfriend won’t let me post on Facebook.