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1.
An archaeology of photographic identification : lecture at the Society for Cinema & Media Studies Conference, Denver, Colorado, 13. 4. 2023
Eszter Polónyi, 2023, unpublished conference contribution

Abstract: This project returns to an early moment in the history of photographic IDs to better understand the current entrapment of our identities within what are by now massive infrastructures of automatized, unregulated and largely unauthorized identity extraction.
Keywords: media studies, surveillance studies, history of art, history of visual culture, cultural studies
Published in RUNG: 12.02.2024; Views: 696; Downloads: 2
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2.
Mobility media : an archaeology of the photographic ID document
Eszter Polónyi, 2023, published scientific conference contribution

Abstract: Mobility, in the sense of freedom of persons choosing to move or reside in a state in which they have no prior citizenship, was one of the four original “freedoms” defined in the treaty that ratified European Union member states in 1957.1 In the past decade, this particular freedom, the freedom of movement, appears to have become significantly eroded. Mobility in the sense of migration, that is, mobility of persons for reasons of residency or employment, has become a point of contention among member states that it has divided more than unified, with measures affecting immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers featuring at the core of recent electoral agendas. Certain member states’ deterrence of the mobility of migrants from outside the EU has resulted in the return to protocols and practices of controlling movement into and out of sovereign territories, among the most conspicuous of which has been the re-establishment of a – by now largely defunct – network of nation-state borders. And while the reappearance of new walls, barricades and barbed wiring alongside certain nation-state borders since the mid-2010s have made headlines, there have been other measures with less press and physical visibility that have been set in place to manage and enforce mobility.2 The photographic identity document, meaning a document of state-issued identity certification, has become one such mobility management measure.
Keywords: cultural history, migration studies, history of art, history of visual culture, media archaeology, media studies
Published in RUNG: 12.02.2024; Views: 703; Downloads: 0
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4.
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: 1107; Downloads: 0
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