By the time Ronnie Pelham makes his third U-turn on North Kendall Drive, he's visibly frustrated. The directions to the Dead Drop are vague, and his GPS keeps telling him to retrace the same 300-foot stretch with his silver Hyundai. Finally, the 31-year-old notices a strip-mall alleyway lined with dumpsters and veers a quick right toward his target: a USB drive containing who knows what.
|Can you spot the USB drive in the sidewalk? This one's in Wynwood, across the street from the NOW Gallery.|
"Boom," Ronnie says, eyeballing a large transformer through his rectangular glasses. "This has to be it."
Ronnie isn't a spy on a reconnaissance mission for classified documents -- he's part of a geeky scavenger hunt for adults that reimagines Treasure Island as a commune. In 2010, German artist Aram Bartholl cemented five USB drives within parks, subway stations, and building façades in New York City. He called his project Dead Drops. The idea was that anyone could walk up, plug in a laptop, and take whatever other people had uploaded -- kind of like a glory hole for computer data. It has worked well in Europe and Canada, with people sharing photos, recipes, and creative projects on the drives.More »