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Dead Media Research Studio

This course is devoted to media archaeology, that is, historical research on forgotten, obsolete, or otherwise “dead” media technologies. Examples range from Athanasius Kircher’s seventeenth-century magic lantern to the common slide projector, discontinued by Kodak in 2004. Our goal is to acquire the skills and resources necessary for producing rigorous and compelling scholarship on such media. The course will include an exposure to recent contributions to the field of media archaeology; an introduction to research methods; instruction on the identification and utilization of word, image, and sound archives; and an emphasis on the need to restore media artifacts to their proper social and cultural context. The course stems from the premise that media archaeology is best undertaken, like any archaeological project, collaboratively. Hence the course follows a research studio model commonly used in disciplines such as architecture.


Pneumatic Tubes

Hotel Annunciator

Newspaper via Radio Facsimile

Mechanical Television

Chirograph (Cyrograph)

Homing Pigeons

3D Television

Spirit Duplicator

Player Piano

Chrysler-Bell Victory Siren



Some entries in the archive are drawn from the Dead Media Project, an email list devoted to the topic started by Bruce Sterling and more recently moderated by Tom Jennings. Ironically their email list is now dead.

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