(Re)discovering the Pathé-Baby: An Experimental Media Archaeological Approach to Early-Twentieth Century Home Cinema

Activity: Talk or presentation typesConference contribution (without a publication)Academic


This contribution celebrates the centenary of Pathé’s 9.5mm film by highlighting a series of media archaeological experiments with the Pathé-Baby home cinema projector and other Pathé 9.5mm film equipment, conducted within the framework of the project “Doing Experimental Media Archaeology: Practice and Theory” (DEMA) from the Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C2DH) of the University of Luxembourg. As an alternative approach to media historiography, experimental media archaeology offers a practice-based and sensorial approach to past media practices by means of conducting hands-on experiments and performing historical re-enactments with past media technologies. The paper exemplifies the heuristic value of this experimental approach for exploring the materiality and histories of use of the Pathé-Baby as an early twentieth-century home cinema technology. Furthermore, it will be shown how experimental media archaeology can be helpful for placing historical media technologies and objects, such as the Pathé-Baby, in a broader media-historical and intermedial framework. For example, by relating some of its patented and advertised features or procedures to “failed” or lesser known home cinema technologies, such as the Pathé KOK (1912) and the Kinora (1896-1914) home cinema systems and motion picture technologies. Such a diachronic, intermedial and media-genealogical approach to home cinema, it will be argued, brings forward new perspectives on the practices of watching moving images at home during the first decades of the twentieth century and their historical development.
Period17 Jun 2022
Event titleThe 'little apparatus': 100 years of 9.5mm film
Event typeConference
LocationSouthampton, United KingdomShow on map


  • media history
  • amateur film
  • experimental media archaeology
  • 9.5mm film
  • Pathé Baby
  • film history