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

Etheric Ocean – an underwater web art audio writing noise work commissioned by Electronic Voice Phenomena

Announcing Etheric Ocean – an underwater web art writing noise work by J. R. Carpenter commissioned by Electronic Voice Pheneomena, an experimental literature and new media project exploring contemporary approaches to sound, voice, technology and writing, brought to you by Mercy and Penned in the Margins.

Etheric Ocean || J. R. Carpenter

Ether is a hypothetical medium – supposed by the ancients to fill the heavens, proposed by scientist to account for the propagation of electromagnetic radiation through space. The notion of ‘ocean’ was once as vague. Aristotle perceived of the world as a small place, bounded by a narrow river. Columbus believed the Atlantic was a much shorter distance across than we now know it to be. Even as early electromagnetic telegraphic and wireless transmissions propagating over, under, and through oceans collapsed distances between ships and shores, they revealed vast new oceans – oceans of static, oceans of noise.

Etheric Ocean is an imprecise survey of sounds both animal and mechanical, and of signs both real and imaginary, of distortions born of the difficulty of communicating through the medium of deep dense dark ocean. Like stations dotting a radio dial, murky diagrams, shifting definitions, appropriated texts, nautical associations, and wonky word plays are strung along a very long, horizontally scrolling browser window. This is a world of inversions. Sounds are deep harbours, or are they depths? Sounds purposefully unfold. Out of its element, uncannily airborne, a flying jellyfish drone wobbles about. Noises are made. Islands are Heard.

For more information about Etheric Ocean, see the Electronic Voice Pheneomena website, and follow @jr_carpneter @_EVP and search for #ethericocean on Twitter.

Many thanks to Nathan Jones, Lisa Robertson, and all the other authors, audio artists, oceanographers, and mad inventors whose words and sounds I borrowed. A link to a fuller list of sources can be found within the work:

Etheric Ocean, J. R. Carpenter, 2014.

#ethericocean

STRUTS – new digital literature commissioned by SFMoMA

STRUTS is a new work of digital literature commissioned for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. This commission is the latest in a series of new works featured on SFMoMA’s Open Space blog, in an excellent column on digital literature by Brian Stefans called: Third Hand Plays. Since the start of the series in July 2011, works have been commissioned from Daniel C. Howe, Alan Bigelow, joerg piringer, Alison Clifford, Erik Loyer, Benjamin Moreno Ortiz, Jhave, Christine Wilks and Jason Nelson. Forthcoming are new works from David Clark and Brian Stefans. I’m thrilled to keep such fantastic company. STRUTS launched on September 15, 2011. Posts to Third Hand Plays will wrap up at the end of September but I suspect the column with enjoy a long afterlife as an accessible, resource-full and fully engaged set of commentaries, concepts and links and resources of interest to digital literature practitioners and newcomers alike.

STRUTS || J. R. Carpenter

STRUTS is an algorithmic collage created from a collection of fragments of facts and fictions pertaining to a place and its people, history, geography and storm events. Narrative resonates in the spaces between the texts horizontally scrolling across the screen, the flickering updating of monthly tide gauge averages, the occasional appearance of live weather weather warnings pulled in by RSS feed and the animated set of photographs of the ends of the struts that support the seawall that protects the foreshore in front of Linda Rae Dornan’s cottage from the rising tides of the Northumberland Strait. The photographs were taken on May 23, 2011 the second day of a five-week stint as Open Studio Artist in Residence at Struts Gallery and Faucet Media Lab, Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada, May 22 – June 26, 2011.

STRUTS. STRUCTURAL MEMBERS, AS IN TRUSSES, PRIMARILY INTENDED TO RESIST LONGITUDINAL COMPRESSION. EMBANKMENTS MEANT TO PREVENT EROSION OF SHORELINES. BRACE OR SUPPORT BY MEANS OF STRUTS OR SPURS. SPURS. OBLIQUE REINFORCING PROPS OR STAYS OF TIMBER OR MASONRY. ON THE SPUR OF THE MOMENT. ON IMPULSE. SPURS TO ACTION. STRUTS. WALKS WITH HEAD ERECT AND CHEST THROWN OUT, AS IF EXPECTING TO IMPRESS OBSERVERS. WITH PROUD BEARING. PARADES, FLOURISHES. STRUTS AND SWAGGERS. STRUTS GALLERY. SUPPORTS BY MEANS OF STRUTS. STRUCTURAL MEMBERS SPUR STRUTS TO ART ACTION. WALKS WITH HEAD ERECT ALONG LONGITUDINAL EMBANKMENTS. SEAWALLS BRACED BY SPURS. STAYS. PREVENT EROSION. OF MOMENTS. OBLIQUELY.

[an excerpt from STRUTS, by J. R. Carpenter, commissioned for SFMoMA, launched September 15, 2011.]

<< Entre Ville >>

a new web/ poetry/ video project
by J. R. Carpenter

LUCKYSOAP.COM/ENTREVILLE

LAUNCH / LANCEMENT: le jeudi 27 avril à 14h30 – Thursday, April 27 at 2:30PM

Salon des amis, Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal
1380, rue Sherbrooke Ouest

Commissioned by/ Une commande d’oeuvre d’OBORO, Laboratoire nouveaux médias et produite dans le cadre des activités spéciales du 50e anniversaire du Conseil des arts de Montréal

“My studio window opens into a jumbled intimacy of back balconies, yards and alleyways. Daily my dog and I walk through this interior city sniffing out stories. Poetry is not hard to find between the long lines of peeling-paint fences plastered with notices, spray painted with bright abstractions and draped with trailing vines. Entre Ville is a web art poetry project presented in the vernacular of my neighbourhood, where cooking smells, noisy neighbours and laundry lines criss-cross the alleyway one sentence at a time.” J. R. Carpenter, 2006.

“Mon studio donne sur un méli-mélo intime, fait de ruelles, de balcons et de cours arrières. À tous les jours, nous partons à la recherche d’histoires, mon chien et moi, reniflant chaque centimètre de l’antre de cette ville. La poésie n’est pas difficile à trouver entre les longues rangées de clôtures à la peinture craquelante, tapissées d’annonces de toutes sortes, d’abstractions vivement peintes à la bombe, drapées de vignes en cascades. Le résultat est Entre Ville, un projet sur Internet, présenté dans le cadre vernaculaire de mon quartier où la bouffe se sent, où les voisins bruyants et les cordes à linge s’entrecroisent dans la ruelle, une phrase à la fois.” J. R. Carpenter, 2006.

LUCKYSOAP.COM/ENTREVILLE
. . . . .

Entre Ville, Commissioned by OBORO

I am pleased and honoured to announce that I have been commissioned by OBORO (Montréal) to create a new web art project to be presented in conjunction with the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Conseil des arts de Montréal in January 2006. As a result, this autumn I will once again have the great pleasure and privilege to work with the fine folks at the Oboro New Media Lab.

Artist’s Statement: My studio window opens into a jumbled intimacy of back balconies, yards and alleyways. Daily my dog and I walk through this interior city sniffing out stories. Poetry is not hard to find between the long lines of peeling-paint fences plastered with notices, spray painted with bright abstractions and draped with trailing vines. The result is Entre Ville, a web-based project presented in the vernacular of my neighbourhood, where cooking smells, noisy neighbours and laundry lines criss-cross the alleyway one sentence at a time.

Saint-Urbain Street HeatSaint-Urbain Street Heat

. . . . .