Rethinking medieval spaces in digital environments

Rethinking medieval spaces in digital environments

By Cecilia Lindhé

Given at the University of Edinburgh, on May 2, 2013

Cecilia LindheMany digital websites and archives of medieval spaces and its objects are not only informed by what we might call a post-romantic notion of aesthetics, they also excise crucial dimensions of medieval materiality and performativity such as touch, smell, movement and sound. Further, these digital environments seem to be designed according to a hierarchical relationship between technological tools and humanities tools – where the former methods have been granted greater authority. This talk will present an effort to overturn this power relation by highlighting how an aesthetic practice grounded in the older lexicon of “perception by the senses” and how rhetorical concepts such as memoria and ductus could challenge the conceptual foundations of websites and digital archives of medieval text and image.

It will also explore some digital interactive installations of medieval spaces that have been developed in HUMlab as part of the research project Imitatio Mariae – Virgin Mary as Virtuous Model in Medieval Sweden. Instead of thinking in terms of collecting, preserving and exhibiting collections of medieval artifacts, this project aims at working out a model of humanistic research infrastructure that goes beyond databases and 3D modelling. It aims to orchestrate the Swedish medieval church as a multimodal space that encourages multi-sensuous involvement and it further investigates not only how digital technology could function as a critical perspective on medieval materiality but also, and more generally, on the Humanities as such.

Cecilia Lindhé is the Director of HUMlab at Umeå University in Sweden. Please visit her website at

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