Media Archeologies Institute


Media Archeologies Institute


eric fleischauer


The Film, Video, New Media, Animation department's Media Archeologies Institute will present a series of lectures and workshops that will take place throughout the Fall 2013 semester. Its main objective being to provide a site for inquiry into the burgeoning field of Media Archeology. Leading figures in the field will visit SAIC and present their research and various theory-practice approaches within the Media Archeological framework in order to inform, inspire, and initiate media-art practitioners and researchers in Chicago. All lectures and workshops are free and open to the public.

Events held at Flaxman Library Special Collections:

Ben Fino-Radin: Digital Archaeology: Resurrecting Dead Media 

Tuesday November 12, 1:00 - 4:00pm 

This workshop will demonstrate how to to recover content from dead media such as 3.5 floppy disks. Working in collaboration with the Joan Flasch Artist Book Collection, Ben will use media from the Flasch collection that is currently inaccessible to librarians to demonstrate the process. After this 3 hour long workshop, individuals will gain an understanding of both the technical logistics as well as archival concerns that guide this process.

Works recovered:

The case for the burial of ancestors, Paul Zelevansky, RA 2.372 


Nick Briz: Piracy for Posterity “how to make your own net art archive”
Wednesday, November 20, 4:30pm 

"Piracy’s preserving effect, while little known, is actually nothing new. Through the centuries, the tablets, scrolls, and books that people copied most often and distributed most widely survived to the present." — Benj Edwards

In this lecture/worksho
p we will go over the technical + theoretical process of creating your own net art archive. We will discuss the role “copying” plays—conceptually && technically—in the underlying technologies of the Internet as well as how it functions as a tech[nique]nology (techné) for acquiring and preserving net culture. We will review in detail how to use shareware web-crawlers and bitTorrent clients to create our own archive from a “dirty” homebrew + DIT perspective.

Events held elsewhere on campus:

Erkki Huhtamo: Tracing the Topoi, a Media Archaeologist's Notes

Monday, October 21, 2013, 6pm @ Neiman center

Erkki Huhtamo's media-historical excavations have established him as leading figure in the field of Media Archeology. His creative vision, thorough research, and unique style have helped to enlighten a media-saturated public on the genealogies that have been eclipsed or forgotten through the years. Huhtamo’s version of media archaeology is particularly concerned with excavating secret, forgotten, neglected, and suppressed histories. For his presentation at MAI, Huhtamo will draw from his work with topos study – which Huhtamo defines as as recurring discursive concepts, visual or audio, that can be traced cross-historically, and to various extents, crossculturally – and present a selection of topoi associated with modern media technology such as the “hand of God,” permeable screen surfaces, the "cloud", and the relationship between 19th astronomical lanterns and stargazing apps available today on mobile phones.

Lori Emerson: The Media Archaeology Lab as Thinkertoy

Tuesday October 29, 1:00pm @ FVNMA Screening Room, #1307, 112 S. Michigan

Lori Emerson will discuss how the field of media archaeology undergirds her Media Archaeology Lab in that the MAL is a kind of thinking device (or, as Ted Nelson put it, "thinkertoy") that enables us to tinker and to track writing-as-tinkering in early works of digital literature. She will also discuss how providing access to the utterly unique, material specificity of obsolete computers, their interfaces, platforms, and software makes it possible to defamiliarize or make visible for critique contemporary, invisible interfaces and platforms.

Christopher Ottinger: Ghost Machine:Object Oriented Alchemy

Monday, November 4, 6pm @ Neiman center

While Media Archaeology locates media technologies in their historical context, Object Oriented Ontology investigates the nature of objects on their own terms. While these two conversations come close, do they actually speak to each other? Ottinger, will discuss how these two areas of thought might intersect, drawing on work from his recent solo exhibition at Chicago Artists Coalition titled Ghost Machine which articulates his own effort to bridge these two philosophies by way of an alchemical approach to media art.

Ben Fino-Radin: Fragile Bits and Dead Media: Preserving Computer Based Works of Art

Monday, November 11, 6:00pm @ Neiman center

What are the risks and threats in a collection of born-digital and computer based works of art? How do contemporary art conservators cope with inevitable obsolescence? What are contemporary art conservators at collecting institutions such as MoMA doing to ensure that museum goers will be able to interact with software based works of art for centuries to come? Ben Fino-Radin joins us to share a first-hand account of the trials and tribulations in the stewardship of MoMA's collection of born-digital works of art and design objects that already spans over five decades of the interaction between artists, designers, and technology.





eric fleischauer, “Media Archeologies Institute,” SAIC Flaxman Library & Special Collection Exhibitions, accessed August 17, 2019,