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 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 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.
I’m headed to Bath Thursday 26 March 2015 to participate in a one-day symposium on Slow Media hosted by the Media Futures Research Centre at Bath Spa University’s Corsham Court campus. I will be speaking about a A Handmade Web. The term ‘handmade’ usually refers to objects made by hand or by using simple tools rather than machines. The result may be homely — as in a child’s clay ashtray — or exquisite — as in a pair of bespoke brogues. I will evoke the term ‘handmade web’ throughout this presentation to refer to web pages coded by hand rather than by software; web pages made and maintained by individuals rather than by businesses or corporations; web pages which are provisional, temporary, or one-of-a-kind; web pages which challenge conventions of reading, writing, design, ownership, privacy, security, or identity.
This fat new issue features winners and finalists of the inaugural Drunken Boat Panliterary Awards, including my web art project How I Loved the Broken Things of Rome – a finalist in the Web Art Category. . . . . .
Come on out to MOCCA tonight for the closing party of the 19th Annual Images Festival. With DJ Kola. Performance by Tammy Forsythe. Outdoor projections by John Oswald. And me, and How I Loved the Broken Things of Rome.
The broken things of Rome are still broken, but my web/ poetry/ video/ installation How I Loved the Broken Things of Rome is now installed at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, and the show is now showing. Come by, buy a mini-book, browse the site on site, and say hi to me, J.R. Carpenter.
How I Loved the Broken Things of Rome is at MOCCA April 13 – 23, 2006 The Gallery Hours Are: Tuesday – Sunday 11 – 6 I will be at the Public Reception: Saturday April 15, 2 – 6PM And at the Closing Party: Saturday April 22, 9:30PM
Extending beyond traditional modes of mapping, artists featured in this year’s online exhibit utilize the Internet to reconsider their interactions with place. Pulling from personal memories, travels and interactions within cities, contributing artists present opportunities for viewers to move beyond the physical boundaries set by geography. Highlighting the Internet’s ability to navigate users through space, Toronto-based twig design has developed an exhibition interface allowing visitors to map their journey from one site to the next.
Works include: “All About My Ho Chung” (Tsang Tsui Shan); “Folk Songs For the Five Points” (Alastair Dant, Tom Favis, Victor Gama & David Gunndate); “How I Loved the Broken Things of Rome” (J.R. Carpenter); “In The Weather” (Melinda Fries and Bonnie Fortune); “New York City Map” (Marketa Bankova); “Radical Cartography: Exploring Nice, Mapping Nice” (Kayte Young & Bill Rankin); “Shadows From Another Place” (Paula Levine).
“How I Loved the Broken Things of Rome” is also on exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA). . . . . .
The fabulous folks at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art have put up with countless email and even a few phone calls from me over the past few months, regarding the now very imminent exhibition of How I Loved the Broken Things of Rome. Thank you Dave. Thank you Camilla, and Gina and Chloé. And Mark and José, who I actually got to talk to in person one day in February. Last night I boarded a fast train from Montréal to Toronto. Now, finally, at long last, the last leg of this great adventure is under way.
MOCCA’s putting me up in the Gladstone Hotel. The Gladstone is very glam, very post-Victorian. As many of you many know, but I didn’t until MOCCA put me up here, an actual real life artist has designed each of the rooms. I’m in the Biker Room, designed by Toronto-based artist and curator Andrew Harwood. The bedside lamps are made of motorcycle helmets and there are three portraits of Peter Fonda from the film “Easy Rider”. The portraits have sequins and glitter on them. The windows open out onto the Price Choppers parking lot – quite a popular hang out from the sounds of things.
This morning, over at MOCCA, I got to unpack a flat-screen monitor that had never been unpacked before. Then my new best friend Hri got out the measuring tape and the masking tape and after a while put some orange paint on the wall. Tomorrow – we tackle shelves and plinths. I learned the word plinth from Mark back in February and now I just love saying and writing it. I can’t wait to actually build one! Actually, Hri is going to build my plinth. Or maybe Marks, who isn’t the same as Mark. Either way, a plinth it will be. And a big one too. Until then, sweet easy rider dreams. . . . . .
How I Loved the Broken Things of Rome has been named a finalist in the Drunken Boat PanLiterary Awards – Web Art Section. The final results of the competition will be announced later this fall. Broken Things will appear in the next issue regardless. DrunkenBoat.com is an international online journal for the arts featuring poetry, prose, photography, video, web art, and sound.
How I Loved the Broken Things of Rome was created between 2002 and 2005 in Rome and Montréal with the generous financial support of the Oboro New Media Lab artist in residency programme and the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec.
Milli gazie again to Barbara Catalini in Rome and Stéphane Vermette in Montréal. . . . . .