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Nota Bene

Making Digital Marks on Medieval Manuscripts


Edited By Tamsyn Mahoney-Steel

We stand at the cusp of an exciting moment in digital medieval studies. The advent of ubiquitously available digitized manuscripts alongside platforms that host encoded medieval texts has democratized access to the cultural heritage of the Middle Ages, and gives us the potential for greater understanding of that era. Seen through the lens of late medieval French literature, in particular the Roman de la Rose and the works of Guillaume de Machaut, this book exhorts us to be optimistic about what we can achieve. Challenging the pessimism inherent in views that see our historical situatedness as a barrier to truly understanding the medieval era, Tamsyn Mahoney-Steel argues that digital networks of manuscript images, texts, and annotations, can not only aid us in comprehending medieval literary culture, but are, in fact, complementary to medieval modes of thought and manner in which manuscripts transmitted ideas. Using her teaching of Guillaume de Machaut and her work with the Roman de la Rose Digital Library, Mahoney-Steel envisages a future in which the digital humanities can enable us to build transhistorical relationships with our medieval objects of study.
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Chapter 4. Annotating the Everted Network


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The singer Imogen Heap arrived at the 2010 Grammys sporting the latest in what some dub “ecouture.” Otherwise known as wearable technology, Heap’s dress incorporated a collar fitted with an LED scrolling display to broadcast her fans’ Tweets during the music awards. “A wireless router embedded inside the chanteuse’s dress was responsible for the live Tweetup, but Heap also carried an iPod touch inside a clear Fendi purse to display photographs fans sent her during the event.”1 The self-proclaimed “digital diva,” who, as well as composing and performing, produces and engineers her music, eschewed the traditional revealing dresses that many female stars don in favor of fashion that revealed the thoughts of her fans. By wearing the “Twitdress,” Heap allowed her body and the experience of the Grammys to be synchronously annotated by her followers. It was an example of how, in Gibson and Jones’ words, the digital network is everting and intertwining with the physical world; it was also an example of making visible a constellation of human beings who coalesce and interact around a subject or idea, in this case Heap’s intensely creative digital music projects.

The digital annotation of the self via social media has also been used as a powerful protest tool. When the Standing Rock Sioux and the activists that stood with them protested against the proposed route of Dakota Access ← 73 | 74 → Pipeline (DAPL) under Lake Oahe on...

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