In 1431, Joan of Arc’s first trial took place from February 21st to March 25th, initially in the Robing Room at the castle of Rouen, and subsequently in the chamber there which was used as her prison. Perhaps the most significant person in the room, aside from Joan herself, was Guillaume Manchon, trial notary. He took the trial minutes, in French, and later translated them into Latin, writing out in his own hand three of the five known copies. Because of him, we have a presumably accurate, and incredibly detailed, record of what actually occurred during the trial: what the concerns of the judges were, what the balance of power in the room looked like, what was significant to both them and to Joan herself.
The Said Woman is an exploration of the document itself, the embedded and complex layerings of translation, transcription, and framing within the text, separate from the mythologies surrounding its subject. In 2014, beginning on February 21st, the date of the first public session of the trial, two versions of the date’s session were posted here, a recording of the English translation read aloud, and images of the document transcribed by hand. The audio for each date was available only until the next recording was posted, on the next trial date.
Language comes into us through reading or hearing, and out of us by writing and speaking. Reading aloud and writing the trial document are a way to have physical embodied contact with the text, a way of learning and thinking with the body as well as the mind.
The trial dates are February 21, 22, 24, 27, March 1, 3, 4 (-9), 10 (beginning the prison portion of the trial), 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 18, 22, 24, and 25.
If you would like an inbox message when a new post is made for this project, click HERE to add yourself to the email list. Though the 2014 segment of the piece is over, the project will continue where it left off next year, as the second trial begins on March 26th.