TRS-80 Model 100 and some white flowers on a pink background

Founded in 2009 by Dr. Lori Emerson, the Media Archaeology Lab is a place for cross-disciplinary, experimental research, teaching, and creative practice using one of the largest collections in the world of still functioning media. Researchers, students, teachers, artists and members of the public are encouraged to turn on, open up, play and create with items from the collection that include phonograph players; magic lanterns; historic personal computers, handheld devices and game consoles including the Altair 8800b, Commodore 64, Apple IIe, Vectrex, and Imagination Machine I and II created by African-American video game pioneer Ed Smith.

The MAL is utterly unique not only because it is an open, accessible space for anyone to come and perform hands-on experiments with its extensive collection but also because it demonstrates alternative paths in the history of technology and empowers visitors to imagine an alternative present and future.

The MAL has also evolved into a real life and virtual community enterprise; it has an international advisory board of scholars, archivists, and entrepreneurs; faculty fellows from departments across the CU Boulder campus; and a regularly rotating cohort of students and community volunteers who help with hardware repair, class tours and guest visits to the lab. The lab hosts reading groups, artist residencies, events, retro game nights, and workshops on how to fix your old or new devices and even on how to build your own mesh network.

In short, the MAL is a community-driven hub for preserving and exploring the history of technology. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Twitch!

  • Critical Media Practices Visiting Artist & Scholars Talks (VAST)

    Book Presentation by Elisabeth Schimana:Hidden Alliances

    Thursday September 29th @ 5:00pm Stadium 255, Gate 7 (add to: gcal |outlook)

    Perplexed by what was purported to be a world without female artists in the electronic music/art genre, I embarked on a search in the 1990s. Geschichten and portrait 01 – Die Futuristin, projects produced by ORF–Austrian Broadcasting Company’s Ö1 Kunstradio - led, following the founding of the IMA Institute of Media Archeology in 2005, to the IMAfiction series, in which 10 female artists, pioneers of their time, told rather a different story and together wove a fascinating network of interrelationships. In this DVD series of five Austrian and five international artists most of the artists chose whom they wanted to be portrayed by. The results are homages that are aesthetically diverse, intimate, and refreshingly free from any conventional film format constraints.

    Elisabeth Schimana • •

    Since the 1980s the musician and composer Elisabeth Schimana has been active as one of the Austrian female pioneers of electronic music with projects marked by a radical approach and equally unconventional aesthetics. After completing vocal training, she earned degrees in composition, computer music, musicology, and ethnology. She has worked intensively with the theremin in Moscow and with the Max Brand Synthesizer in Vienna. Not only has she created countless radio works in cooperation with ORF Kunstradio but numerous sound installations and interdisciplinary and performative projects as well. In her artistic work, Schimana examines questions of space, communication, or the body in its presence or absence, especially the imparting of compositional concepts (scores), which gives rise to completely new approaches that experimentally explore how we hear and demand a heightened musical presence on the part of the performer. Her probing approach also led her to found the IMA Institute of Media Archeology, which has dedicated itself to acoustic media at the analogue/digital interface and to the subject of women, art, and technology since 2005.


    The Critical Media Practices Visiting Artist & Scholar Series is Sponsored by: CMCICritical Media Practices,  and The Center for Documentary and Ethnographic Media. Support for the book presentation is provided by The Media Archaeology Lab, Institut für Medienarchäologie, and Bundesministerium für Kunst, Kultur, öffentlichen Dienst und Sport.