When I lost a very good book few months back I remember one of my friends telling me not to grieve over it as it had only become one of the many articles that form a collective pool of lost objects and something had become little more public in a world infested with privatising even thoughts and ideas. For me it was nice to imagine a city where people would be conscious of these lost and found objects, where as a gesture one had to leave an 'exchange' for the object they wish to take with them only to be lost again when they desire. Or seeding a city with books purposefully lost along strategic locations on designed topics to be found by an unsuspecting audience member, could very well come to be a tool of revolution, atleast a literary one, maybe.
(one of the works of Cildo Meireles, with the question "Who killed Herzog?" stamped, refering to the suspicious death in prison of the journalist Wladimir Herzog sourced from TATE also a very good interview of the artist here)
One of the artists whose work I really enjoyed seeing at Tate Modern, Cildo Meireles believes in using pre-existing systems to ones advantage which he refers to as Insertions into Ideological Circuits. Where objects of daily use that get circulated through a huge number of people (currency, soft drink bottles, or maybe even the London tube free newspaper) can be appropriated to send messages to a far diverse and wider audience. In an interview the artist explains "While having a beer with a friend at a bar in Rio, he remarked that an olive stone could never be removed from a bottle unless the mechanical process for washing bottles was changed. As I pictured this olive stone inside a bottle, I concluded that there are circulation mechanisms within society which could be used by artists as counter-information. Newspapers, radio and television are circuits for transmission with a very broad reach, yet they are vulnerable – that is to say, they are easily controllable."
Another artist whose work comes close to this is Omer Fast whose work T3-Aeon involved altering the soundtrack of The Terminator movies rented from New York area video stores. The sound tracks were interviews that served as a secret anonymous record of incidences that had transpired in the private space. Like Michel Gondry's Hollywood comedy Be Kind Rewind the possibilities of remaking stories and inserting them within this system is infinite.
(image sourced from the artist's blog here)
(image sourced from the artist's blog here more images can be found here)
In present day digital age, while the corporate thugs go on a witch hunt to close down different services that allow free exchange of files that are private properties, I came across the DeadDrops project by Aram Bartholl! It is fantastically smart move in the present context, goes along the lines of juxtaposing two public spaces together and just plays along the "what is in the box" curiosity for people to start plugging in along walls, booths, curbs and all sorts of places to exchange files that they have no clue of. And yes there is always fear of catching viruses but that is true for even delicious looking street food! its public space so get over it!