CFP: Collections and Collectors

Artifact & Apparatus: Journal of Media Archaeology
Stichtag: 15.11.2022

Over the past two decades, several institutions have emerged that collect, preserve, and make available for study obsolete media-technological artifacts and apparatuses: the Media Archaeological Fundus at Humboldt University, the online Museum of Obsolete Media, and the Media Archaeology Lab at CU Boulder are only a few of the most prominent examples. While much attention has been paid to media archaeology as artistic and scholarly practices, little attention has been paid to the archivists, collectors, and institutions that preserve and make available these objects for interrogation, ensuring that not only the media content itself—the images, sounds, and texts—are migrated to newer formats and preserved, but also that the technical devices and processes that made their creation possible are safeguarded and stored for posterity.

For our second issue, „Collections and Collectors,“ we invite contributors to help remedy this oversight by re-inscribing the role of the media-archaeological collection and collector in the creation of knowledge about the history of media arts and communications. Why do some people feel compelled to save and collect outdated technologies, and what motivates them to do this kind of work? How do these collections actually work and function, from acquisition, processing, and description to the creation of scholarship? What kind of backgrounds and specializations do people who devote their lives to collecting and caring for obsolete media relics have? What unique challenges do these media objects pose to conservators in terms of maintenance, repair, and storage, and what can we actually learn from the objects themselves?

Suggested topics include, but are not limited to:

• The preservation, collection, and maintenance of obsolete media and technology.
• Media forensics and the reverse-engineering of now-obsolete media technologies.
• The use of obsolete media in artistic practices.
• Obsolescence and/as fetishization.
• The resurgence and recommodification of obsolete media.
• Planned obsolescence.
• Archives and/as media-archaeological collections.
• Case studies and/or collection profiles.
• Migration, remediation, and digitization.
• Obsolescence and/as nostalgia.
• The thrill, joy, and wonder of playing with obsolete media objects and technologies.
• Histories and traces of matter and material culture.

We invite academic articles in the 4,000-6,000-word range, as well as experimental essays, demonstrations of artifacts and apparatuses, collection case studies, artists‘ manifestos and portfolios, personal recollections and reflections, along with other forms. If you’d like to propose an alternative format, please reach out to the editor:

We are happy to work with contributors to develop their articles, and welcome you to get in touch with us to discuss ideas and receive feedback at any point before the deadline. Contributors should submit their articles to by November 15, 2022.

Submissions should be 4,000-6,000 words, formatted in 12pt Times New Roman, paginated, double-spaced. Citations should adhere to the Chicago Manual of Style. (Please see articles published in the first issue of this journal for reference.) Please also include a 100-word abstract and short bio. Submit your paper as a Microsoft Word or other preferred word-processor document. Any figures or illustrations should be submitted separately as high-resolution JPEG or TIFF files.

Submission does not guarantee publication. Papers will go through a double-blind peer-review process. The editorial board reserves the right to reject any submission that does not follow these guidelines, unless prior approval has been granted. If you have any questions, please contact the editor at the above email address.

media archaeology; media materiality; media archives; media art; digital media; material and visual culture.