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I Left This Pirate Box Here For You To Read

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I’ve been communicating a bit with @grantpotter about his PirateBox efforts (Author’s Note: I remember reading something Grant or maybe @sleslie or @brlamb wrote about this, but I can’t find whatever it was I read – maybe it was something on Twitter?). I really want to build one out when I have a moment (and when I can gather the appropriate parts), hopefully in time for NV11.  I find the whole PB concept to be entirely fascinating, both for its potential as an expression of the copyleft impulse, and from the perspective of culture jamming, but also as great example of an ephemeral phenomenon.  A secret, hidden-in-plain-sight (from a network perspective, if not necessarily a physical one), and fleeting besides.  I love stuff like fairy doors, hidden hotel wall art, and urban exploration.  When I found my first geocache, I experienced the amazing realization that there are hidden pheneomena all over the place – if you know where to look, or if by happy accident you stumble upon them.  I felt the same way when I attended the IJA Juggling Fest in Sparks, Nevada, and realized that there was a whole world, a whole culture complete with elaborate traditions and language, about which (prior to spending 2 days immersed in it) I knew nothing. It’s maybe why I love circuit bending – the idea that there are entirely unique sounds just waiting to be coaxed out of the circuit boards of cast-off toys.  The magic of the ordinary?

I got to thinking about PB, and how it might be combined with other mechanics.  Take geocaching, for example.  Imagine if the PB were to contain secret coordinates that pointed to another PB, or to a traditional geocache, or perhaps the PB could be the cache.  Whether using the infrastructure and conventions, or perhaps just using PB as the foundation of an impromptu audio/video/whatever scavenger hunt, I think there’s something there.  This recording will self-destruct in 10 seconds…

I blogged about “I Left This Here for You to Read” a while back, and about the larger concept of the digital/meatspace interface as it relates to ds106.  ILTHFYTR has an interesting distribution model:  you can either find one that has been left on a bus or in a coffee shop, or you can contribute some art or photography, and thus receive a copy of the edition in which your work appears.  That’s it.  You can’t get back issues, and you can’t get a digital copy.  Couple that mechanic with a PB, and you have something interesting.  That is, unless you stumbled upon a PB with the content, you would never be able to read or hear it.  Now, I realize that once something is digital, it is unstoppable from a distribution perspective, but I still think it would be amazing to have a PB-only ILTHFYTR.  Anybody want to contribute some completely unique, never-before-published poetry, photography, or audio?  Thoughts?

Update @scottlo reminded me that Brian included a PB link in the resources list that he provided in support of his excellent ds106 guest appearance.

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