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1.
Bodies of noise at the Bell Laboratories : early automated speech recognition, contribution at the Editorial Workshop - A Special Issue on Acoustic Space, November 9-10, 2022, Frankfurt/Main
Eszter Polónyi, 2022, other performed works

Abstract: This paper is about the first automated systems developed to recognize identity. While automated recognition in the twenty-first century is widely associated with images of the human face, its roots are to be found in attempts to visualize identity in other, non-figural types of trace left by human bodies, ranging as widely as shadows, astrological signs, handwriting, the prints left by palms and fingers and the acoustics of the human voice. This paper investigates one such system of recognition as it emerged from within the telecommunications industry context in the midcentury U.S. Ostensibly built to reduce human labor and cable bandwidth, Bell Labs developed three different phone devices in the 1950s to photograph, formalize and analyze the sounds of speech as they traveled through the telephony system. And while the device called “Audrey” indeed succeeded in recognizing spoken digits, it was its failure to recognize the speech contents without prior awareness of the identity of the speaker, that is to distinguish between the individuality of the speaking “medium” and their intended meaning, that arguably made the experiment a landmark in the history of machine-driven recognition. Accounting for the “noise” made by the body and the environment from which sound emanated into the device, which the lab’s technicians defined as ranging from “speech defects” to “inflection” and “background interference” proved more important than phonetic analysis in determining the intended message of given speech spectogram. Similarly to a range of experiments with noise by formalist filmmakers such as Tony Conrad, John Cage, Kurt Kren and others, it was on the principle of contingency and irreproducible uniqueness that Bell Lab technicians sought to train machine-driven intelligence.
Keywords: History of computer science, machine learning, Bell Labs, history of telecommunications, sound studies
Published in RUNG: 19.02.2024; Views: 559; Downloads: 6
.pdf Full text (31,80 MB)

2.
Mobility Media: an Archaeology of Identity Photography through Science, Art and Visual Culture
Eszter Polonyi, invited lecture at foreign university

Abstract: In an era of total surveillance, being in possession of a biometric ID document can still result in denial of one’s basic civil protections and human rights. The discovery of systematic errors in state-implemented facial recognition programs—such as in recognizing faces of color (Joy Buolamwini)—suggests the failure of current practices of global intelligence and mobility. This paper offers an archaeological investigation of the contemporary photo ID document. Returning to its invention in the 1920s, it examines the issues of conjectural knowledge (Carl Ginzburg), embodiment or tact (Béla Balázs) and the optical unconscious (Walter Benjamin) behind early “physiognomic” media.
Keywords: History of Science, History of Visual Culture, History of Art, History of Photography, Migration
Published in RUNG: 13.01.2023; Views: 1067; Downloads: 0
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3.
Béla Balázs and the Face in the Machine
Eszter Polonyi, unpublished conference contribution

Keywords: media studies, history of film and photography, science of physiognomy
Published in RUNG: 11.12.2020; Views: 2467; Downloads: 0
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4.
Invisible Man: Microcinematography in early 20th-c Europe
Eszter Polonyi, unpublished conference contribution

Keywords: film studies, science and technology studies, Weimar cultural history, film theory
Published in RUNG: 11.12.2020; Views: 2515; Downloads: 0
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5.
The Future of Film: Appropriation rather than Preservation
Eszter Polonyi, unpublished conference contribution

Keywords: film studies, art history, library and data science, archive theory, contemporary art, intangible heritage, cultural heritage
Published in RUNG: 11.12.2020; Views: 2763; Downloads: 0
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6.
Daydream by Béla Balázs
Béla Balázs, 2012

Keywords: film history, media studies, science and technology studies, Central European cultural history
Published in RUNG: 10.12.2020; Views: 2882; Downloads: 0
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7.
Béla Balázs and the Eye of the Microscope
Eszter Polonyi, 2012, original scientific article

Abstract: This study explores the significance of the cinematic close-up to one of the earliest theories of film, produced by Béla Balázs, on the basis of a widespread technique of microscopy in the life sciences, notably in the work of his brother Evin Bauer, a theorist of microbiology. Balázs imagines that silent film records life in its immanence and spontaneity by virtue of what he calls the “physiognomic” nature of its signs. Rather than generating signs that must be passed through an alphabetic cipher, as had been required under the regime of the written or literary, Balázs presents film as liberating our access to the flow of optical data. Interestingly, however, Balázs retains the need otherwise characteristic of scientific analysis for dividing up the image into semiotic units, what he describes as “atomization.” He insists on returning the real to a symbolic order and making film into a language.
Keywords: film history, media studies, science and technology studies, Weimar cinema, media archaeology
Published in RUNG: 10.12.2020; Views: 2806; Downloads: 0
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8.
REVITALISATION OF RUINS AND THE IMPACT ON CONSERVATION POLICIES IN SLOVENIA. CASE STUDY OF THE CARTHUSIAN MONASTERY AT ŽIČE, SLOVENIA
Mateja Golež, 2019, doctoral dissertation

Abstract: The doctoral dissertation in question presents in detail the issue of protecting architectural heritage as ruins on the example of the Žiče Charterhouse complex in Slovenia. The author based her work on the history of conservation, internationally applicable charters related to architectural heritage protection and on examples taken from international conservation practice. Although the Slovenian conservation profession, as an independent technical and scientific discipline, received its formal legal status through the emergence of independent Slovenia merely a couple of decades ago, it is possible to claim that Slovenia, with its first academically qualified conservation specialists Avguštin Stegenšek and France Stele, was in contact with active policy on heritage protection as early as before World War I, when the Slovenian territory was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and also after the War, when the territory was annexed to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Despite long-standing efforts, Slovenians did not achieve the legal protection of architectural heritage until early 1980s, when an independent act on the protection of natural and cultural heritage was adopted in former Yugoslavia. Because of this, the tasks carried out by conservation specialists until that time primarily focused on documenting heritage and carrying out the most pressing maintenance works. Since all major international charters related to cultural heritage protection were signed when Slovenia was part of former Yugoslavia and after it became independent, it is not possible to claim that the profession did not follow the international legal order in this field. This is why it is sometimes difficult to understand the large gap between international technical criteria and the conservation decisions made by Slovenian conservation experts when performing intervention works on structures or sites of cultural value in Slovenia. To improve this condition, it is therefore vital that buildings be treated comprehensively prior to interventions, including in terms of carrying out natural science and technical research studies that provide an insight into the materials, structural frame and building physics of a building, as shown in the doctoral dissertation on the example of the ruin of the Church of St. John the Baptist at Žiče Charterhouse. Only by carefully analysing historic materials, it is possible to make the right decision on the use of adequate substitute materials for the needs of maintaining a ruin and, only on the basis of preliminary research made into structural frames, it will be possible to monitor the vitality of ruins in future, whereby using state-of-the-art research methods from conservation science. Since the Church of St. John the Baptist has lost its original intended use and also the possibility to get it back, the author of the dissertation proposes that the structure not be reconstructed, since this would imply a major deviation from original architecture, with a shortage of adequate documentation that would provide a basis for credible reconstruction. For this reason, the author of the doctoral dissertation defends the position that the Church be protected as a ruin. The operator of the monastery complex and the entire valley of St. John, where the remains of the lower and upper monastic houses of the Žiče Charterhouse are located, now faces quite a challenging task. It will have to prepare a management plan that will foresee expert bases for sustainable use of natural and cultural values of this site and a suitable development policy, whereby giving the key role to the local community.
Keywords: ruins, architectural history, legislation, international charters, revitalization, natural science research, Žiče monastery
Published in RUNG: 22.01.2019; Views: 4216; Downloads: 154
.pdf Full text (12,67 MB)

9.
Social and Cultural Aspects of Socializing of Slovenian Students in the Habsburg Monarchy in the 19th and the 20th Centuries
Željko Oset, unpublished conference contribution

Keywords: Slovene Students, Science, History, University of Vienna, University of Graz
Published in RUNG: 12.12.2017; Views: 4267; Downloads: 0
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