chapter
12 Pages

Introduction

ByNICHOLAS TERPSTRA

This chapter focuses on Florence between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries, taking Dante's cue about the relationship among the sound of a bell, the evocation of a social topography, and maintenance of collective memory embedded with architectural matrix of the city. It explores certain techniques of visualization as a way of gaining a deeper and more intimate understanding of how Florentines experienced the civic relationships and networks in which they lived. A city's soundscape was as much an expression of its identity as it was a medium through which social relations were forged and negotiated by both ritual and transgressive practices. The Digitally Encoded Census Information and Mapping Archive (DECIMA) map evokes other mapping projects from both the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries that aim to measure and preserve. Yet it also opens ways of complicating such precise surveys, particularly as the chapter examines, sound, and ritual and shows how lenses of politics, community, and the imaginary refracted all straight lines.