J.R. Carpenter

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J.R. Carpenter
Born1972 (age 47–48)
Other namesCarpenter, J. R.
Occupationartist, writer, researcher, performer

J. R. Carpenter (born 1972) is a British-Canadian artist, writer, researcher, performer and maker of maps, zines, books, poems, fiction, non-fiction, non-linear hypermedia narratives, and computer-generated texts. She was born in Nova Scotia in 1972, and lived in Montreal from 1990 to 2009. She now lives in Plymouth, England.


Carpenter studied Life Drawing and Anatomy at the Art Students League of New York in 1988 and Fibres and Sculpture at Concordia University in Montreal 1990–1995. In 2015 she was awarded a practice-led PhD research degree from University of the Arts London in association with Falmouth University. Her thesis, Writing Coastlines: Locating Narrative Resonance in Transatlantic Communications Networks[1] "contributed to the creation of a new narrative context from which to examine a multi-site-specific place-based identity by extending the performance writing methodology to incorporate digital literature and locative narrative practices, by producing and publicly presenting a significant body of creative and critical work, and by developing a mode of critical writing which intertwines practice with theory."[1]

Professional life[edit]

She served on the Board of Directors of OBORO, an artist-run gallery and new media lab in Montreal, from 2006 to 2011.[2] She was a faculty mentor for Performance Writing and Electronic literature on the In (ter)ventions: Literary Practice at the Edge program at The Banff Centre from 2010–2014.[3] In 2015 she was awarded a Visiting Fellowship at the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library, London, UK.[4] In 2019 she was awarded a Visiting Fellowship at the Moore Institute for Research in the Humanities and Social Studies at NUIG Galway, Ireland.[5]


Carpenter has written extensively about textile art,[6] media art,[7] digital literature[8] and internet history.[9] Her print essays, art reviews, poetry and short fiction have been broadcast on CBC Radio, translated into French, Italian, and Spanish, and published in numerous anthologies and journals across Canada, the US, the UK, Spain and Italy, including Oxford Poetry, 3:AM Magazine,[10] PRISM International, Arc Poetry Magazine, Fuse,[11] The New Quarterly[12] and Geist.[13]

Digital writing[edit]

Carpenter has been writing electronic texts since 1993. She made her first web-based work for Netscape 1.1. in 1995. Since that time her pioneering works of Electronic literature have been published, performed, and presented in festivals, galleries and museums around the world, including: Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Dare-Dare, OBORO and StudioXX in Montreal; Images Festival and Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art[14] in Toronto; Arnolfini[15] in Bristol; Palazzo delle arti Napoli in Naples; Machfeld Studio in Vienna; The Web Biennial in Istanbul; Open Space, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco; and Bibliothèque nationale de France and Le Cube in Paris.

Her digital work is also included in The Rhizome ArtBase,[16] the Electronic Literature Collection Volumes One and Volume Two,[17] and the ELMCIP Anthology of European Electronic Literature.[18]

A retrospective of her web-based work was presented at Electrifying Literature: Affordances and Constraints[19] an exhibition held in conjunction with the Electronic Literature Organization Conference 2012 in Morgantown, West Virginia.[20]

Her web-based work The Gathering Cloud[21] was commissioned by NEoN Digital Arts Festival 2016, Dundee, UK.[22]

Her web-app This is a Picture of Wind,[23] a weather phone for phones, was commissioned by the Iota Institute in Canada, with the support of a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts.[24]


Carpenter's first novel, Words the Dog Knows, was published by Conundrum Press in Montreal in 2008.[25]

Her second book, GENERATION[S], a collection of code narratives, was published in Vienna by Traumawien in 2010.[26]

In 2017 a print book based on her web-based work, The Gathering Cloud, was published in Axminster by Uniformbooks, featuring a foreword by Jussi Parikka and an afterword by Lisa Robertson.[27] The Belgian critic Jan Baetens situates The Gathering Cloud alongside Christian Bök’s Crystallography, stating: “it is part of a newly emerging canon of art and science creations that help reshape the fundamental unity of the humanities.”[28] Writing for the Italian journal Neural, Aurelio Cianciotta concurs: “…this book represents the kind of rewarding hybridity in writing and concepts that we’d expect much more often in contemporaneity.”[29] Writing for Sabotage Reviews, Ryan Ormonde states: “By gathering together histories and theories on the ‘cloud’ in all its duality, and, in the process, dissolving that duality, Carpenter founds a whole new discipline. If Cloud Studies takes off, here is its primer."[30]

In 2018 Carpenter's debut poetry collection, An Ocean of Static, was published in London by Penned in the Margins.[31] Writing for Poetry London, Katie Evans-Bush describes An Ocean of Static as “a bravura piece of writing… a bit intimidating next to your average poetry collection..”[32] Writing for The Poetry School, Jade Cuttle calls An Ocean of Static “a poetic endeavour completely unlike any other.”[33] Writing for Department of Feminist Conversations, Mary Paterson states: “Carpenter doesn’t just take risks; she breaks things apart and creates them anew. Her poems’ refusal to settle into one meaning undermines the truth-ambitions of language — shattering language into a multitude of possibilities — and lays bare the principles that make these ambitions persist.”[34]


In 2003 Carpenter won the CBC Quebec Short Story Competition (now known as the Quebec Writing Competition)[35] for her short story "Precipice", which was later anthologized in Short Stuff: New English Writing From Quebec.[36] She won the CBC Quebec Short Story Competition again in 2005 for her short story "Air Holes", which was later anthologized in In Other Words: New English Writing From Quebec.[37]

In 2008 she won the Quebec Writers' Federation Carte Blanche Award[38] for "Wyoming is Haunted",[39] a work of creative nonfiction.

In 2009 she won the Expozine Alternative Press Award for Best English Book for her novel, Words the Dog Knows.[40] and was named a Montreal Mirror Noisemaker.

In 2012 her web-based work CityFish[41] was shortlisted for the New Media Writing Prize.[42] In 2015 she won the Dot Award for Digital Literature from if:book UK.[43]

She won the New Media Writing Prize 2016[44] for her web-based work The Gathering Cloud.[45] The Gathering Cloud was an Editor's Pick in the Wildcard Category in the Saboteur Awards 2017[46] and was shortlisted for the Robert Coover Award for a Work of Electronic Literature 2017[47] and The Turn On Literature Prize 2017.[48]

In 2018 her web-app This is a Picture of Wind won the Opening Up Digital Fiction Competition's People's Choice Award[49] and was shortlisted for the New Media Writing Prize 2018[50] and the Robert Coover Award for a Work of Electronic Literature 2018.[51]

Her debut poetry collection An Ocean of Static was Highly Commended for the Forward Prizes for Poetry 2018.[52]

Selected bibliography[edit]


Words the Dog Knows (Montreal: Conundrum Press 2008)
GENERATION(S) (Vienna: Traumawien 2010)
The Gathering Cloud (Uniformbooks 2017)
An Ocean of Static (London: Penned in the Margins 2018)

Web-based works[edit]

Fishes & Flying Things (1995)
Mythologies of Landforms and Little Girls (1996)
(a grammar of signs has replaced a botany of symptoms) (1998)
How I Loved the Broken Things of Rome (2005)
The Cape (2005)
Entre Ville (2006)
in absentia (2008)
CityFish (2010)
Along the Briny Beach (2011)
Notes on the Voyage of Owl and Girl (2012)
There he was, gone. (2012)
...and by islands I mean paragraphs (2013)
Etheric Ocean (2014)
Notes Very Necessary co-authored with Barbara Bridger (2015)
The Gathering Cloud (2016)
This is a Picture of Wind: A Weather Poem for Phones (2018)
The Pleasure of the Coast: A Hydro-graphic Novel (2019)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Writing Coastlines: Locating Narrative Resonance in Transatlantic Communications Networks". J.R. Carpenter. Retrieved 23 July 2015.
  2. ^ "J. R. Carpenter Biography - Electronic Literature as a Model for Creativity and Innovation in Practice ELMCIP". ELMCIP. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
  3. ^ "J. R. Carpenter Biography - The Banff Centre". banffcentre.ca. Retrieved 12 January 2014.
  4. ^ "Eccles Centre Fellowships in North American Studies". www.bl.uk. Retrieved 23 July 2015.
  5. ^ "Moore Institute announces Visiting Research Fellowship Scheme". Moore Institute. 2018-10-09. Retrieved 2019-03-16.
  6. ^ "Art Textiles of the World: Canada". Telos. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
  7. ^ "Massive Media: A Geology of Media book review". Furtherfield. Archived from the original on 23 July 2015. Retrieved 23 July 2015.
  8. ^ "From the Digital to the Bookbound". The Literary Platform. Retrieved 23 July 2015.
  9. ^ "xxxboîte". StudioXX. Archived from the original on 16 January 2014. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
  10. ^ Carpenter, J.R. "This Sea is Nothing In Sight But Isles". 3:AM Magazine. Retrieved 29 March 2017.
  11. ^ Carpenter, J.R. "Ingrid Bachmann: Digital Crustaceans v.0.2: Homesteading on the Web". Fuse. Retrieved 23 July 2015.
  12. ^ Carpenter, J.R. "Hennessy's High Pasture". tnq.ca. The New Quarterly. Archived from the original on 2015-07-23. Retrieved 23 July 2015.
  13. ^ Carpenter, J.R. "Words Dogs Know". Geist. Retrieved 23 July 2015.
  14. ^ "How I Loved the Broken Things of Rome at Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art". Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art. Archived from the original on 2014-01-16. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
  15. ^ "Performance Writing: J R Carpenter". Arnolfini. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
  16. ^ "J. R. Carpenter's profile on The Rhizome ArtBase". Rhizome. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
  17. ^ "Electronic Literature Collections". Electronic Literature Organization. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
  18. ^ "ELMCIP Anthology of European Electronic Literature". ELMCIP. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
  19. ^ "Electrifying Literature". Electronic Literature Organization. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
  20. ^ "J.R. Carpenter". dtc-wsuv.org. Retrieved 12 January 2014.
  21. ^ "The Gathering Cloud || J. R. Carpenter". luckysoap.com. Retrieved 2019-03-16.
  22. ^ "The Gathering Cloud". NEoN Digital Arts. NEoN Digital Arts. Retrieved 22 January 2017.
  23. ^ "This is a Picture of Wind || J. R. Carpenter". luckysoap.com. Retrieved 2019-03-16.
  24. ^ "This is a Picture of Wind". IOTA. Retrieved 2019-03-16.
  25. ^ Carpenter, J. R. (2008). "Words the Dog Knows". Conundrum Press. Conundrum Press. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
  26. ^ Carpenter, J.R. "GENERATION(S)". Traumawien. Traumawien. Retrieved 23 July 2015.
  27. ^ "The Gathering Cloud". Uniformbooks. Uniformbooks. Retrieved 18 May 2017.
  28. ^ culturalstudiesleuven (2017-08-14). "J.R. Carpenter's 'The Gathering Cloud'". Cultural Studies Leuven. Retrieved 2019-03-16.
  29. ^ Cianciotta, Aurelio. "J. R. Carpenter – The Gathering Cloud | Neural". Retrieved 2019-03-16.
  30. ^ "The Gathering Cloud by J. R. Carpenter". Sabotage. 2017-11-06. Retrieved 2019-03-16.
  31. ^ "Penned in the Margins | An Ocean of Static". Retrieved 2019-03-16.
  32. ^ "Autumn 2018: Issue 91 | Poetry London". Retrieved 2019-03-16.
  33. ^ Cuttle, Jade (2018-05-22). "Review: 'An Ocean of Static' by J.R. Carpenter • Poetry School". Poetry School. Retrieved 2019-03-16.
  34. ^ Paterson, Mary (2019-02-01). "An Encounter with An Ocean of Static by JR Carpenter". Medium. Retrieved 2019-03-16.
  35. ^ "About the Quebec Writing Competition". CBC Montreal. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
  36. ^ "Short Stuff: New English Writing from Quebec". vehiculepress.com. Véhicule Press. Retrieved 23 July 2015.
  37. ^ "In Other Words: New English Writing from Quebec". vehiculepress.com. Véhicule Press. Retrieved 23 July 2015.
  38. ^ "Past QWF Awards Winners". Quebec Writers' Federation. Archived from the original on 31 October 2014. Retrieved 12 January 2014.
  39. ^ Carpenter, J.R. "Wyoming is Haunted". carte-blanche.org. Carte Blanche. Retrieved 23 July 2015.
  40. ^ "2008". Expozine. Retrieved 2019-03-16.
  41. ^ "CityFish". J. R. Carpenter. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
  42. ^ "New Media Writing Prize Shortlist 2012". New Media Writing Prize. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
  43. ^ Pope, Jim. "Focus on the 2015 Dot Award". New Media Writing Prize. New Media Writing Prize. Retrieved 9 November 2016.
  44. ^ "JR Carpenter takes the big prize at the 2016 New Media Writing Prize Awards". The Literary Platform. The Literary Platform. Retrieved 22 January 2017.
  45. ^ Carpenter, J.R. "The Gathering Cloud". Luckysoap.com. Luckysoap.com. Retrieved 22 January 2017.
  46. ^ "Saboteur Awards 2017 Spotlight on the Best Wildcard Shortlist". Sabotage Reviews. Sabotage Reviews. Retrieved 18 May 2017.
  47. ^ "Announcing the 2017 ELO Prize Winners – Electronic Literature Organization". eliterature.org. Retrieved 2019-03-16.
  48. ^ admin, Author. "The Shortlist for The Turn on Literature Prize and Honorable Mentions". Retrieved 2019-03-16.
  49. ^ "2018 Winners of the Opening Up Digital Fiction Competition Announced!". Retrieved 2019-03-16.
  50. ^ "2018 – New Media Writing Prize". Retrieved 2019-03-16.
  51. ^ "Announcing the Winners of the 2018 ELO Prize – Electronic Literature Organization". eliterature.org. Retrieved 2019-03-16.
  52. ^ "Forward Book of Poetry | Forward Arts Foundation". www.forwardartsfoundation.org. Retrieved 2019-03-16.

External links[edit]