In late May, we’ll be hosting Dr Lori Emerson, from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Lori will be giving a number of talks at Flinders, the details of which are below, along with her bio. She is visiting in conjunction with Melanie Swalwell’s Future Fellowship research programme, to explore links and crossovers between the computer and media archaeology labs we have set up at Flinders and the University of Colorado, Boulder, respectively.

Tues 24/5 — 4:30-6pm: Public lecture: the Media Archaeology Lab and discussion of “THE LAB BOOK”, Flinders at Tonsley, 5.29.

Emerson will discuss the history and philosophy of the Media Archaeology Lab as a node for hands-on experiments in practice-based research, teaching, and artistic practice. She will also discuss a collaborative book project she is currently working on, “THE LAB BOOK: Situated Practices in Media Studies” – a book that investigates the history of media and humanities labs as situated practices, presenting a much-needed critical, historical and international examination of a major ongoing shift in contemporary ideas about higher education, the information technology sector and the public good.


Wed 25/5 – 2pm-4pm: Computer History seminar: papers by Lori Emerson & Melanie Swalwell SSS154.

Lori Emerson, “Othernet, Alternet, Darknet”

Lori Emerson will discuss her current book project titled OTHER NETWORKS – a network archaeology of the history of telecommunications networks that pre-date the Internet or exist outside of the Internet. The questions driving the project touch include: what were the different networks that directly or indirectly caused the creation of TCP/IP and later “the internet”?  What are the affordances of these networks? What sorts of communication spaces did they make possible or impossible? In other words, how do these networks work and for whom do they work? The larger, implied goal of the project is to look at how things were, how things could have been, to try to reimagine how things still could be rather than resigning ourselves to the way things are.

Melanie Swalwell, “Working with Game Fans for Preservation Outcomes”

When previously asked what advice they had for cultural institutions trying to preserve games as playable experiences, fan and retro-gamer informants responded “ask us”. This paper presents a post-mortem of how this has worked out in practice in the Play It Again project, a just-completed 3 year game history and preservation project focused on locally made games for microcomputers in 1980s Australia and New Zealand.

Mon 30/5 — 2-5pm, Masterclass: “Critical Infrastructure Studies, from Interface to Network”, SSS154.

Emerson will discuss her work on media poetics and the pre-history of the Internet in terms of what Alan Liu has recently named “critical infrastructure studies.” The outline of the class is here.


Lori Emerson is an Associate Professor in the Department of English and the Intermedia Arts, Writing, and Performance Program at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She is also Founding Director of the Media Archaeology Lab. She writes about media poetics as well as the history of computing, media archaeology, media theory, and digital humanities. She is currently working on two book projects: the first is called “Other Networks” and is a history of telecommunications networks that existed before or outside of the Internet; the second is called “THE LAB BOOK: Situated Practices in Media Studies” (under contract with the University of Minnesota Press) which she is co-writing with Jussi Parikka and Darren Wershler. Emerson is the author of Reading Writing Interfaces: From the Digital to the Bookbound (University of Minnesota Press, June 2014). She is also co-editor of three collections: The Johns Hopkins Guide to Digital Media, with Marie-Laure Ryan and Benjamin Robertson (2014); Writing Surfaces: The Selected Fiction of John Riddellwith Derek Beaulieu (Wilfred Laurier University Press, 2013); and The Alphabet Game: a bpNichol Reader, with Darren Wershler (Coach House Books 2007).

Melanie Swalwell is an ARC Future Fellow and Associate Professor in the Screen and Media Department. Melanie was Project Leader of the ‘Play It Again’ game history and preservation project. She is currently completing a book on 1980s homebrew gaming, and editing two anthologies, Fans and Videogames: Histories, Fandom, Archives (Routledge), and Game History & the Local.