Light a Fire to Access This Post-Apocalyptic Digital Safe

Art & Sculpture Craft & Design Technology
Light a Fire to Access This Post-Apocalyptic Digital Safe

While most so-called “preppers” prepare for impending calamities by stockpiling food, water, and other necessities, one might also need information on how to survive. Most likely this wouldn’t involve logging onto a secret data cache with a smartphone, but you never know.

Artist Aram Bartholl decided to hide his secret data cache inside of a hollowed-out rock. As he puts it, it’s a “tounge-in-cheek comment on how we live today.” He has stored some guides there that may or may not be suitable for the next catastrophe. Some the more interesting guides available include: “Make Your Long Distance Relationship Work,” “DIY SYNTH GUIDE,” “How to Survive Twerking, Dirty Dancing at the Holiday Office Party,” and, of course, “Guide to Surviving the Comic Con.”

keepalive2 bartholl
keepalive1 bartholl

As seen in the video below, the data cache is powered by a custom-built Peltier generator. When a fire is lit under the rock at the correct position, this setup then generates enough electricity to power the concealed data hideout. The data bank reportedly takes three to four minutes to boot up after the fire is started and stops very quickly after it’s put out.

Bartholl notes that this kind of setup gives very bad efficiency power-wise. However, in this case not much power is needed relative to what a fire produces, so it would seem like an ideal solution.

Though there are certainly quite a few documents of little use, a few guides might be comforting, such as: “Mobile Journalist Survival Guide,” “Emergency Response to Terrorism,” and “Hostage Survival Skills for CF Personnel.” After all, if you’re a journalist, you’d probably need to move about frequently, and any hostage or terrorism-themed PDFs could certainly be useful. There’s only one small problem with this set up: You’ll still need to figure out where to charge your phone or laptop, and, of course, how to start a fire.

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!

Jeremy is an engineer with 10 years experience at his full-time profession, and has a BSME from Clemson University. Outside of work he’s an avid maker and experimenter, building anything that comes into his mind!

View more articles by Jeremy S Cook


Ready to dive into the realm of hands-on innovation? This collection serves as your passport to an exhilarating journey of cutting-edge tinkering and technological marvels, encompassing 15 indispensable books tailored for budding creators.

Escape to an island of imagination + innovation as Maker Faire Bay Area returns for its 15th iteration!

Buy Tickets today! SAVE 15% and lock-in your preferred date(s).