2. The Tomb as a Social Agent

From the point of view of the monument's social biography, one of the chief strands of this project concerns the bodily presence of the effigy and how observers may sense and visualise inanimate effigial bodies as being not only animate but visceral. In connection with this it proved necessary to examine the tomb spatially and dynamically. This is because it was physically moved around its environment, changing its shape and appearance as it was transferred from place to place. As a result, it has clearly affected its viewers in different ways in the past according to its form and siting, thereby creating new perceptions and visceral reactions that continue on into the present.

The memorial is, in effect, a very powerful example of a material social agent that not only continually prompts its audience to respond to it but has also been physically transfigured by those responses. This means that a sense of distributed animation is, and has been, constantly activated, even at a time when the monument was not publicly visible (see Gell 1998, 96-154, for a discussion of agency and distribution). Crucially, the use of RTI has helped to define aspects of the tomb's biography that have added depth to this analysis and helped to explain the effigy's historical affect as an agent.


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