The Cute Machine, 1997, Martine Corompt, The Cute Machine, 1997, Martine Corompt, still from interactive CD-ROM running via EaaSi
The Cute Machine, 1997, Martine Corompt, ACMI Collection and Experimenta Collection
Stories & Ideas

Wed 18 Oct 2023

Archiving Australian Media Arts

ACMI Collection Art Preservation
Candice Cranmer
Candice Cranmer

Time-based Media Conservator

The Archiving Australian Media Arts project aims to preserve and make accessible Australia's rich history of interactive artworks before they deteriorate beyond repair.

Australian artists creating interactive media works in the 1990s and 2000s were exceptionally innovative, experimenting with a range of (then) cutting edge hardware and software platforms to create new interactive forms. These works were not just displayed in galleries or museums but also performed and exhibited online, contributing to the development of media art nationally and internationally.

Stored on formats like optical, floppy or zip disks as well as obsolete hardware, these works have become increasingly at risk of irreversible deterioration and or complete loss owing to obsolescence. To collectively seek conservation solutions to some of these challenges, ACMI has been working with Swinburne and RMIT Universities as well as a range of partnering organisations in the Archiving Australian Media Arts (AAMA), Australian Research Council project to preserve significant Australian media art works both from ACMI’s and Experimenta’s archives.

Building on the preservation efforts initiated in the Play It Again projects that aimed to preserve significant Australian videogames from the 1980s and 1990s, the AAMA project, and now the Australian Emulation Network, an ARC Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities project continues a collaborative approach to media arts preservation. Significantly, these projects, with AARNET’s infrastructure have also introduced Emulation as a Service Infrastructure (EaaSi) for partners to emulate legacy software environments and enable access to these works again where possible. This preservation work is a significant step forward in allowing continued access to our history of Australian media and social memory of this innovative time.

Discover and play

To see and play media art works in an exhibition of selected works from ACMI’s and or Experimenta’s legacy collection, Explore the Collection below while logged in to ACMI’s Wi-Fi. To play Australian videogames from the 1980s and 1990s head to our Play it Again I and Play It Again II pages.

Explore the Collection

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