Joyce Chen_陳禹先, Kyra Delsing

6 CD-ROMs published by Mediamatic get stuck

cd-roms from 1994 to 1998

"This CD-ROM was made by Mediamatic Interactive Publishing(MMiP) for the Netherlands Design Institute. Technical requirements : a Macintosh computer with 256 color display, 4 megabytes of RAM and a cd-rom player”- Mediamatic Magazine Vol. 8#1, pp.1858


Screenshot of running the Doors of Perception 1 cd-rom - Joyce Chen_陳禹先


Trying to launch a CD-ROM from 1994.

Instructions on how to run a “Doors of Perception 1” CD-ROM is written on the first page of Mediamatic Magazine Vol. 8 No.1. Now, lets have a look at the basic abilities of my computer: “a macbook computer with 24-bit color display, 8 gigabyte of RAM and a dvd/cd-rom player”.

The question is: will the resolution of the CD-ROM from 1994 improve because of the technical standard of 2014? Not long after I put the “DopRom” inside a macbook, an error popped up… and I knew the resolution wasn’t going to improve. It was a death sentence for the CD-ROM.

The missing part of “Technical requirements”.

Hardware, software and an Operating System are the 3 basic requirements for a functional computer to launch a program or CD-ROM. If we look back at the first personal computer ever produced and compare it to our computers now, it is obvious that these three requirements are unstable and constantly changing. There is only a small chance we will be able to launch the CD-ROMs on a modern computer. For the “DopRom1”, both the hardware and operating system of my computer are wrong. But this is not mentioned in the “Technical requirements” manual of the CD-ROM.

How can we revive Mediamatic CD-ROMs?

Because of the well-known artists on CD-ROMs published by Mediamatic and the good reputation of Mediamatic Foundation, many cultural institutes and museums continue making an effort to conserve and re-install the CD-ROMs. Our attempt is to recreate the appropriate computer environment of each CD-ROM. Practically; we need an old Mac with a CD-ROM player booting Mac OS7 to OS10 to be able to play all our CD-ROMs.

“To maintain the accessibility, all digital content and technology should be inspected each year.” This message you might find in a museum collection policy but it is only rarely realized. We are not a museum, but we do care about the CD-ROMs we published. It is time for us to focus our attention on this subject