Upcoming Talks – February 2018

I’m hitting the road next week, to talk archaeologies of experimental wind weather writing and unconventionalities of weird web art design to students, faculty, and anyone who turns up really, at Epsom, Southampton, and Winchester school of Art.

On Monday 5 February 12:30-13:30 I’ll be speaking to Graphic Design students, faculty, and members of the public at the University for the Creative Arts in Epsom. I think the event poster gives fair warning of my highly eccentric approach to web ‘design’. I hope a lively discussion of how very best not to do things ensues.

UCA Epsom || J. R. Carpenter, 5 February 2018
UCA Epsom || J. R. Carpenter, 5 February 2018

On Thursday 8 February I’ll head south to Southampton to give a reading at the excellent ENTROPICS experimental poetry series. In advance of the reading, Sarah Hayden asked me a few interview questions. My answers, along with interviews with past ENTROPICS poets are online here. I am deeply indebted to the organizers for the fabulous event poster, below. The reading will take place at 18:30–21:00 at Mettricks Old Town Cafe, 117 High St, Southampton SO14 2AA, UK. All are welcome.

ENTROPICS || J. R. Carpenter, 8 February 2018
ENTROPICS || J. R. Carpenter, 8 February 2018

And then onward on Friday 9 February to talk about my new web-based work This is a Picture of Wind at the Archaeologies of Media and Technology (AMT) Research Group at Winchester School of Art as part of their Talking Heads Series. The event will take place at Winchester School of Art, Lecture Theatre A, 15:00-17:00. It’s free, and open to the public. For more information, see the event page Writing a Picture of Wind. Many thanks to AMT director Jussi Parikka for putting the Southampton-Winchester bit of the tour together.

This is a Picture of Wind

I’m thrilled to announce the launch of a new, web-based work called This is a Picture of Wind. This work expands upon a series of short texts written in response to the winter storms which battered South West England in early 2014, resulting in catastrophic flooding in Somerset and the destruction of the seawall and rail line at Dawlish in Devon. Following the news in the months after these storms, I was struck by the paradox presented by attempts to evoke through the materiality of language a force such as wind which we can only see indirectly through its affect. I began to explore weather in all its written forms.

Part poetic almanac, part private weather diary, and part live wind report for the South West of England, this work attempts to call attention to climate change by picturing through variations in language the disturbances and sudden absences left in the wake of wind.

This is a Picture of Wind || J. R. Carpenter
This is a Picture of Wind || J. R. Carpenter
This work is designed to be read on phones. It calls on live wind data. A new text will be added for each month of 2018. A text about this work written by Johanna Drucker will be published in March 2018.

This is a Picture of Wind was commissioned by IOTA: DATA, with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts. Initial research for this project was made possible by a Dot Award for Digital Literature, from if:book and the New Media Writing Prize.

Many thanks to Mireille Bourgeois, Chris Meade, Kay Lovelace, Johanna Drucker, Michael Saunby, Peter Dickinson, and Jerome Fletcher for walking into the wind with me.

The Gathering Cloud shortlisted for the Saboteur Awards 2017

I’m pleased as punch to report that my hybrid print and web-based work The Gathering Cloud has been shortlisted as an editor’s pick for the the Saboteur Awards 2017. This news came as a complete surprise to me, via email this morning. I couldn’t be more delighted.

Voting is now open until 30th April to determine the winners. The results will be announced on 13th May at a special evening event at Vout-O-Reenees in London. Book tickets here.

Now in their 7th year, the Saboteur Awards celebrate indie literature in the UK in all its forms, from spoken word shows to novellas, via collaborative work. Nearly 2,200 people nominated this year. The four most nominated works in each category have made it into the shortlist, as well as a work selected by one of the Saboteur editors (as indicated by a * by their name). The idea is for each of the editors to put the spotlight on a work that would be unlikely to make the shortlist otherwise but which they believe deserves some attention. My thanks to Saboteur editor Claire Trévien for slipping The Gathering Cloud into the wildcard category.

The Gathering Cloud was commissioned by NEoN Digital Arts Festival, Dundee, UK, 9-13 November 2016, and is the winner of the Winner of the New Media Writing Prize 2016.

The Gathering Cloud shortlisted for the New Media Writing Prize 2016

I’m thrilled to announce that my recent hybrid print and web-based work The Gathering Cloud has been shortlisted for the New Media Writing Prize 2016. Winners will be announced at the New Media Writing Prize Award Ceremony, which will get underway at 18.00 on 18 January 2017 at Bournemouth University.

As it happens, I was invited many months ago to give the keynote address that evening. The tile of my talk will be: Things Rarely Turn Out How I Intend them To. Now truer than ever. Admission is free and all are welcome. Register Here.

The Gathering Cloud - a new hybrid print and web-based work by J. R. Carpenter
The Gathering Cloud – a new hybrid print and web-based work by J. R. Carpenter

Of The Gathering Cloud, media theorist Jussi Parikka Writes:

J.R.Carpenter’s new hybrid print and web-based work The Gathering Cloud unfolds as fittingly dreamy, beautiful piece with hypertextual hendecasyllabic verses that attach solidly to the undergrounds of contemporary data clouds.

Like her earlier work, it engages in a contemporary that is entangled between the past and the now. The topic of the cloud becomes the vehicle that drives the work, from Luke Howard’s “Essay on the Modifications of Clouds” (1803) to querying the environmental significance of any word, any seemingly fleeting moment captured as image, uploaded, and stored on the cloud as part of the transactions of data that are the humming backbone of our digital poetics.

~ Jussi Parikka, Machinology

The Gathering Cloud was commissioned by NEoN Digital Arts Festival, Dundee, UK, 9-13 November 2016. Many thanks to the curators Sarah Cook and Donna Holford-Lovell.

Further reading: NEoN speaks with JR Carpenter

View the work online here: The Gathering Cloud

View the full New Media Writing Prize 2016 Shortlist

The Gathering Cloud

The Gathering Cloud is a new hybrid print and web-based work by J. R. Carpenter commissioned by NEoN Digital Arts Festival, which takes place in Dundee, UK, 9-13 November 2016.

This work aims to address the environmental impact of so-called ‘cloud’ computing through the oblique strategy of calling attention to the materiality of the clouds in the sky. Both are commonly perceived to be infinite resources, at once vast and immaterial; both, decidedly, are not.

Fragments from Luke Howard’s classic “Essay on the Modifications of Clouds” (1803) as well as more recent online articles and books on media and the environment are pared down into hyptertextual hendecasyllabic verses. These are situated within surreal animated gif collages composed of images materially appropriated from publicly accessible cloud storage services.

The Gathering Cloud
The Gathering Cloud – a new hybrid print and web-based work by J. R. Carpenter

The cognitive dissonance between the cultural fantasy of cloud storage and the hard facts of its environmental impact is bridged, in part, through the constant evocation of animals: A cumulus cloud weighs one hundred elephants. A USB fish swims through a cloud of cables. Four million cute cat pics are shared each day. A small print iteration of “The Gathering Cloud” shared through gift, trade, mail art, and small press economies further confuses boundaries between physical and digital, scarcity and waste.

The Gathering Cloud
The print iteration of The Gathering Cloud

The Gathering Cloud was commissioned by NEoN Digital Arts Festival, Dundee, UK, 9-13 November 2016. Many thanks to the curators Sarah Cook and Donna Holford-Lovell. Portions of this text were first performed at the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution during the South West Poetry Tour, 1-8 August 2016. Thanks and curses to Annabel Banks for sugesting the hendecasyllabic constraint. Thanks to Kay Lovelace, Rachel McCarthy, Michael Saunby, and the fine folks at the Informatics Lab at the Met Office for tips, tricks, and discussions on code and the weather. And thanks to Jerome Fletcher for everything else.

Further reading: NEoN speaks with JR Carpenter

View the work online here: The Gathering Cloud

Notes Very Necessary – new work published in The New River

Notes Very Necessary is a web-based multi-media collage essay co-created by UK-based playwright, director, and dramaturg Barbara Bridger and artist, writer, and researcher J. R. Carpenter.

This new work aims to addresses the inter-related issues of cultural imperialism and climate change by appropriating and remixing images, text, and data generated by centuries imperialist, colonialist, capitalist, and scientific exploration and exploitation in the Arctic. The title is borrowed from an essay called “Instructions and notes very necessary and needful to be observed in the purposed voyage for discovery of a passage eastwards” published in Hakluyt’s Voyages and Discoveries in 1580. This essay, co-authored by the Englishmen Arthur Pet and Charles Jackman, offered detailed instructions on how to conquer new territories by taking copious notes. The proposed voyage eastward, toward the discovery of a Northeast passage to China, hangs In 2015 Barbara Bridger and J. R. Carpenter attempted to follow these instructions by making, finding, and faking notes, images, data, and diagrams online and reconfiguring them into a new narrative. The result is a long, horizontally scrolling, highly variable visual and textual collage essay charting the shifting melting North.

Notes Very Necessary || J. R. Carpenter & Barbara Bridger
Screenshot of Notes Very Necessary || J. R. Carpenter & Barbara Bridger

Notes Very Necessary was commissioned for conjunctions : experiments in collaboration, a collection of interdisciplinary essays co-edited by Jill Talbot and Eric LeMay, published in The New River: A Journal of Digital Writing & Art in December 2015.

“In the spirit of the essay to test new forms and practices, this collection brings together work created through collaboration. We asked writers to collaborate with other artists or artisans in the co-creation of an essay that, in some way, pushed the genre beyond words.” Jill Talbot and Eric LeMay

Performing Digital Texts in European Contexts : A New Commentary Column on Jacket2

Jacket2 Last night I started a new sustained writing project. For the next three months I will be a regular commentator for Jacket2, an online journal of modern and contemporary poetry and poetics associated with PennSound and the Kelly Writers House at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

I will be posting under the still somewhat tentative header, Performing Digital Text in European Contexts. In this space I will endeavour to collect, recollect and comment on a wide variety of digital texts and contexts operating in the inter-zones where digital media, literature, visual art and performance practices meet. My first post further outlines the kinds of texts and contexts I’m thinking of. Although, or rather because, I already have certain writers, works, venues, events and organizations in mind, I actively seek suggestions on others. If you or someone you know is performing digital texts in European contexts, please let me know through the contact information on the Jacket2 page.

Other recent Jacket2 commentators have included Oana Avasilichioaei, writing on experimental Canadian poetics in Folding Borders: Experimenting in the Canadian Laboratory, Eric Baus, writing on lesser known gems from the PennSound archive in Notes on PennSound, and Charles Bernstein, writing on, you know, the myriad and many things Charles Bernstein. Needless to say, I’m thrilled to join this company.

More information about Jacket2.

Performing Digital Text in European Contexts

LEA New Media Exhibition: Re-Drawing Boundaries

Three of my web-based works are included in Re-Drawing Boundaries, a new online New Media Exhibition launched in April 2011 by Leonardo Electronic Almanac (LEA), the electronic arm of the pioneer art journal, Leonardo – Journal of Art, Science & Technology, published by MIT Press.

Re-Drawing Boundaries

Over a fifteen-week period Re-Drawing Boundaries will present a spectrum of recent and older works by an international selection of artists working in the emerging and often overlapping fields of Locative Media, New Media and Mapping. The exhibition aims to represent cross-pollination and progression between these works, artists and artistic territories.

In each of the three web-based narrative map works of mine to be featured in week ten of Re-Drawing Boundaries, maps operate – often simultaneously – as images, interfaces, and stand-ins for far-away places and pasts that could never be mine. My early adoption of the web as a narrative medium was due in part to my attraction to the internet as a place-less place. These web “sites” may be read as repositories for longings for belonging, for home.

Mythologies of Landforms and Little Girls [1996]
http://luckysoap.com/mythologies

The Cape [2005]
http://luckysoap.com/thecape

CityFish [2010]
http://luckysoap.com/cityfish

Re-Drawing Boundaries is curated by Jeremy Hight, with senior curators Lanfranco Aceti and Christiane Paul. The selected artists are:

Kate Armstrong, Alan Bigelow, Louisa Bufardeci, Laura Beloff, J.R Carpenter, Jonah Brucker Cohen, Vuk Cosic, Fallen Fruit, Luka Frelih, Buckminster Fuller, Rolf Van Gelder, Natalie Jeremijenko, Carmin Kurasic, Paula Levine, Mez, Lize Mogel, Jason Nelson, Christian Nold, Esther Polak, Proboscis, Kate Pullinger, Carlo Ratti, Douglas Repetto, Teri Rueb, Stanza, Jen Southern, Kai Syng Tan, Jeffrey Valance, Sarah Willams, Jeremy Wood, Tim Wright.

I’m thrilled to be in such great company.

For more information on this exhibition, visit: http://www.leoalmanac.org/index.php/lea/exhibition/lea_new_media_exhibition/

Download: LEA New Media Exhibition: Re-Drawing Boundaries Press Release (PDF)

Follow LEA on: Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, YouTube and Vimeo.

CityFish to be presented at OLE Officinia di Letteratura Electtronica, exhibited at PAN Palazzo Arti Napoli

I am gearing up to present a paper on my most recent work of electronic literature – CityFish – at the OLE Officinia di Letteratura Electtronica Festival / Conference taking place in Naples 20-21 January 2011. The very full program boasts an impressive roster of speakers. I am looking forward to seeing old friends and new work. I especially love how, in a sea of big names and long conference paper titles written in Italian, Spanish, French and English, shot through with colons, semi-colons, dashes and all manner of accentuation, my title is written just like this – “CityFish” – one word, written in its own made-up language, buoyed by quotation marks, impossible to translate, and anyway, there is no reason to. The rest of the paper will be translated, however. All of the papers presented at OLE Officinia di Letteratura Electtronica will appear in Italian translation in a book published by Feltrinelli in Italy. I have the greatest of sympathy for the translators of this odd-ball essay about this quirky work about this talking dead fish.

CityFish is a hybrid word, title of a hybrid work, tale of a hybrid creature. A big fish story swallowing a small tale’s tail. A rhizome, a fable, an urban legend. Like an old wives’ tale, it’s long been told but is never quite finished. In its latest incarnation, CityFish is a web-based hypermedia panoramic narrative. Completed in November 2010, with the support of a new media creation grant from the Canada Council for the Arts, CityFish was presented in Beta at Archive & Innovate, The 4th International Conference & Festival of the Electronic Literature Organization, at Brown University, in Providence, Rhode Island, USA, June 3-6, 2010. CityFish was also presented as a work-in-progress at Interventions: Literary Practice at the Edge: A Gathering, at The Banff Centre, in Banff, Alberta, Canada, February 18, 2010. The Coney Island videos were shot on location in 2005 and edited during the Babel Babble Rabble: On Language and Art thematic residency at The Banff Centre in 2006. A very, very, very early web-based iteration of CityFish was presented in an exhibition called IßWAS, at the Bavarian American Hotel in Nuremberg, Germany, July 1998. That iteration incorporated a series of photographs shot on 35mm film in Chinatown, Toronto, circa 1996; a line drawing of a fish with a tall building for a tail, drawn at around the same time; and a very short story of the same name written in 1995 from the first-person point of view of a fish.

CityFish is a simple story told by a simple fish, most unhappy about being caught, killed and offered up for sale, piled unceremoniously in a heap on a sidewalk fishmonger’s stall on a hot summer day, on a narrow, crowded street in Chinatown, New York City. “What a fish, once was I,” the fish reminisces. “A fish’s fish, with fish’s thoughts inside my head.” Fish are far from us. Their stories breathe with gills, swim in deep cold water and are never still. They cannot help but seem strange to us. As Henry David Thoreau noted in Cape Cod, a book named after a piece of land named after a fish:

All that is told of the sea has a fabulous sound to an inhabitant of the land, and all its products have a certain fabulous quality, as if they belonged to another planet, from sea-weed to a sailor’s yarn, or a fish-story. In this element the animal and vegetable kingdoms meet and are strangely mingled.

CityFish will be exhibited at PAN Palazzo Arti Napoli for a month after OLE Officinia di Letteratura Electtronica, and may be viewed anytime from anywhere online here: http://luckysoap.com/cityfish

PAN Palazzo Arti Napoli
via dei mille 60, napoli
tel. +39.081.7958604-05
fax. +39.081.7958660
info@palazzoartinapoli.net
www.palazzoartinapoli.net

An article about OLE Officinia di Letteratura Electtronica appeared in the Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera 8 January 2011: Arriva la letteratura elettronica

A Slow Reveal… at The Art Gallery at the University of Maryland

Two of my recent web-based works – Entre Ville and in absentia – have been included in a new exhibition at The Art Gallery at the University of Maryland at College Park. A Slow Reveal… launched on March 25, 2009. Over the course of several weeks, the site will reveal projects developed for the internet that employ a variety of forms: from digital narratives, online gaming, open source programming, and database art, to traditional methods of documentary filmmaking in virtual environments.

The first section in A Slow Reveal… explores how the Internet is transforming narratives, through electronic literature, gaming, mash ups, blogging, and transmedia fiction. In these works, the narrative unfolds in RSS syndication through text, still images, video, animation, and sound. The Internet provides individuals and collaborators opportunities to publish innovative re-imaginings of text and image to a potentially large audience, while reaching the smaller niche audiences some works might attract and never reach through traditional print or video distribution. The internet allows for new level of interactivity, from simple navigation and shaping of text to participating as reader/writer/composer/actor. Through mouse clicks and arrow keys, the experience is more like a performance than viewing a static material object.
– Jennie Fleming, The Art Gallery, Associate Director

So far, A Slow Reveal… has revealed works by Kate Pullinger, Chris Joseph, J. R. Carpenter, Andy Campbell, Judi Alston, Annette Weintraub, Roderick Coover, David Clark, Mark Amerika and Jody Zellen.

View A Slow Reveal…
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