by Nejc Crnko, 2011
Have you ever wondered what "Dead drops" are? Are they dead water drops? We were also wondering what those are when we heard that finding them will be our task for the day in Cologne. While we were in the university reciving instructions for the day, they showed us a video which drew out how the whole thing started in New York by Aram Bartholl in 2010 when he planted the first four USB sticks around the city therefore called "Dead drops".
Basic goal of this project is that USB sticks around the city create a big sharing offline network which can be used by everyone without connecting to internet or being accused of piracy. It's also useful for tourist who want to experience something new and different. At the beggining some people doubt that project but "dead drops" started to appear in much more cities and became quite popular. Due to the project we joined, maybe the whole thing will become more known among people and they will appear in your city too.
The 4th of May was the date that even us became a part of it. Separated into groups, equipped with a map and photos of locations with USB sticks we set off from the university in Cologne. We were first headed to Rudolfplatz where the first stick was waiting for us. We have recieved our first task, which included 3 ways of doing it, depended on which file you chose. At every "Dead drop" we had to complete a task that we were supposed to do. It was mostly taking pictures of us with various statues, buildings and monuments or trying to regard to the legend which was written above the task we were given. The location of the next dead drop was given below a task in each file and we had to follow the map to get there. The goal of "Dead drops" hunting was to get to the final destination which was the Dom. There we met the other groups and prepared a plan for our final move which was writting a message or drawing a smile on the baloon which we were given by students from university. At precisely 4 o'clock we had to "freeze" on the stairs in front of the Dom holding our baloons. Then the countdown began. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1! And we let out baloons fly towards the sky. The whole thing was filmed and photographed, so supporters can see how the project has been developing and organised. Hunting "Dead drops" also gave us an opportunity to get to know some parts of the city which we wouldn't have seen if we just had been in the city as tourists.
To sum it up we also wanted to know how our friends felt about the project and what were the pros and cons. Most of them liked it very much in general, but they said that we should have worked in smaller groups to make the whole project more efficiant. They would also prefer a fixed and better organised schedule so that the break time would have been the same for everyone and also we would have found the same number of “Dead drops” and wouldn't meet eachother at the same spot. But otherwise the whole group liked the project and enjoyed being a part of it. Also all of us liked Cologne and enjoyed it's beauties. Definietly a city to come back to.
We would like to thank the university to let us know what “Dead dropping” is. Now we know that it's actually got nothing to do with death.
Eliska (Czech Republic)