For this new commissioned work, artist Aram Bartholl (Berlin, b. 1972) will embed an inconspicuous, slot-loading DVD burner into the side of the Museum, available to the public 24 hours a day. Visitors who find the Dead Drop and insert a blank DVD-R will receive a surprise collection of digital files that may include found footage, animated GIFs, video games, feature films, or interactive art curated or created by artists selected by Bartholl. DVD Dead Drop imbues the act of data transfer with a tangibility left behind in a world of cloud computing and appstores, using a medium—the digital versatile disc—that is quickly becoming another artifact of the past.
An artifact of the past, indeed! I don’t own a DVD player, can’t remember the last time I watched a DVD, and haven’t even considered DVDs when thinking about my options for cutting the cord. We’re already a year past the point when Netflix hit “peak DVD,” and U.S. sales of DVDs and Blu-ray discs fell for the first time in 2011 compared to a year prior.