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J. R. Carpenter

David 1

Jonathan David Rivera Sebastian

Leonardo Flores

English 3300 – 050

May 11, 2012

J.R. carpenter

J.R. Carpenter is a Canadian artist and writer. She writes fiction, non-fiction, poetry and Non-linear hypermedia narratives. She has published many books and is a map maker, in other words, a cartographer. Now lets not delay anymore and go right to the point.  Focusing on her electronic literature work, Carpenter specializes in Non-linear hypermedia narratives as mentioned before. She likes to use French phrase in her works, which is not surprising since many Canadians speak French. She also integrates maps into her works and of course, it’s hypermedia, so she loves to accompany images and text together.

Now, lets break it down slowly. While looking at her works, we’ll define what non-linear hypermedia narratives are and how do they work (or at least how J.R. Carpenter uses them). It is a fairly simple concept that mixes everything into one awesome thing. You already know what a narrative is, lets not delay too much with that.

What is Non-linear? Non-linear means that the narrative or story doesn’t follow a specific path; for example, if I write a story in links and make a menu at the top of the page that leads to those links, the reader will be able to jump from link to link without order. That’s essentially what Non-linear is; no direct path. For this concept we can see Carpenter’s “A sleep I fell”. This

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collection of quotes and stories follows a non-linear path. At the top of the page, it has four phrases that serve as links for different short stories and quotes. These short stories and quotes each have their own link. Now, we must notice they are not numbered and their stories don’t follow a specific pattern so they can be considered non-linear. Of course, when the content of such links is analyzed objectively and with care, narrative ties can be made. As the tittle suggests, “A sleep I fell’s” texts are related to the concept of sleeping. Some play with the word falling and explore its meanings others simply describe the experience of sleeping.

Moving on, let’s talk about hypermedia. It is a hypertext system that links graphics, audio and video elements. Lets say you have a hypertext narrative and you add sound, video and pictures or moving graphics to it. There, you have a hypermedia narrative, just shuffle the links in the interface and it can be considered as non-linear as well. A great example of this concept is Carpenter’s Entre Ville. Entre Ville’s interface is composed of many different pictures and an image of a note book with a drawn building on it. The windows serve as interactive links, which lead to videos and other media. One of them even leads to a text pad where you can type anything and even get a reply if you leave your email. It is easy to make the connection to hypermedia once you experience the diverse resources it uses to express its narrative.

Also, we can’t forget to explore her use of maps and French in her work. It is important to examine this because those two things are a constant in many of her works. Of course, it is probably very important for her to often mix these things in when she can, since she is Canadian and works as a cartographer. We can use Carpenter’s “Les huit quartiers du sommeil”. In case you don’t know French, it translates to “The eight neighborhoods of sleep”. The interface is, you

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guessed it (or not); a map and not just any map. It uses the all popular Google maps as the interface. A very clever choice of interface as it is simple and easy for integrating a narrative that aims to describe hotels or sleeping quarters of the city. Some text are decorated with French words, not only to be expected from Carpenter, but also to be expected when talking about places in Montreal a city in Quebec and if you’re still lost, Quebec is in Canada.

Lastly, we can conclude that Carpenter meets all criteria for being considered a non-linear hypermedia narrative writer. We can also notice how she loves to mix in her work as cartographer and her French language in her hypermedia works. Of course, we only examined the tip of the iceberg. She has written in many other mediums and has won a few awards for them. Also her works have been presented in many places like the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art and Images Festival in Toronto, the Helen Pitt Gallery in Vancouver, the Rhizome Art Base at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York and many more.

I have to say, I enjoyed some of her works, especially the one called “A sleep I fell”. The quotes are very diverse. It’s nice to see how others represent and describe sleeping in their own words. Not just that, but it’s nice to see it in her words too.






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Works Cited

“J. R. Carpenter.” Web. 11 may 2012.

Carpenter, J. R. “A sleep I fell.” Luckysoap & Co. 2000. Web. 11 may 2012.

Carpenter, J. R. “Entre Ville.” OBORO, Laboratoire nouveaux medias. 2006. Web. 11 may 2012.

Carpenter, J. R. “Les huit quartiers du sommeil.” Luckysoap & Co. 2007. Web. 11 may 2012.



short response of “PA0! PA0! PA0!” by Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries

"PA0! PA0! PA0!"

These are gunshots. This work basically tells a story in fast forward. It felt like watching a Japanese anime about some dude being chased down and his life turning upside down. Every time the word ‘PAO’ was pronounced, it was to represent the sound of gunshot. It’s an onomatopoeia to be exact. Very nice how at the end it creates this strange image that the protagonist just doesn’t care for his life anymore and he looses it and goes on a rampage with the car and somehow he crashes. It’s cool how the rampage it’s represented. Rather than having the narrative unfold with rapidly changing text like it did the whole time, it simple flashes “YEAH” like the guy is screaming and running over everything he can. You may want to be careful with the ending, it could give you seizures.

Tried to look for info about these work, but couldn’t seem to find anything related to it.


short response, Digital Language Movies (Tuesday, April 17)

I really hope non of these works caused me some kind of psychological trauma or something…

First two were loud and cool. The last one was colorful and informative. Tried not to dwell too much on the last one. I noticed the pit was just many loops with a background change; same words, same pictures, different color. I felt like it was trying to fool me.

The one I enjoyed was “The struggle continues” by Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries. It had a rhythm to it, but I guess that was just the jazz. I noticed many funny phrases in there while the words were flashing. Others that had to do with freedom and equality. Whatever his message was, I think it’s probably ingraved in my subconscious now.

(Source: intro2elit)

Dancing (with) Words (Friday, April 13)

I think these Works are going to drive me crazy.

Very nice how they represent things visually.

I really like “Universo Molecula” by Isais Herrero.

I felt it was the visual representation of the map we make in our minds when we are deeply researching something on the internet. You keep jumping from link to link, read old forums, look for related questions, look on wikipedia. In your mind you make something like “Universo Molecula”. Your mind gets filled with pictures and information. Of course, not everything you read is there, just some things. You could remember the structure and colors of the page you browsed, but you may not remember what was written on it completely.

(Source: intro2elit)

short response, “Dancing (with) words” (wednesday, april 11)


Very well represented in “Ah” by Michel and Dirk Vis.

How the stream of words flows from right to left, some go fast others slower, and sometimes the meanings change when one word is read before another and then is passed by another word.

I tried reading the words as the emerged from the right and then reading them again as the reached the left. The result was a slightly similar but different meaning.

I guess that’s one way of understanding how thoughts work. When one is thinking, letting the mind wander, some thoughts overlay each other which could then lead to more thoughts.

It’s similar to “youtube surfing” first you watch a video game trailer and you end up seeing a video about Asian men cooking fish in a way that their heads are alive when they get to the table.

short response, “Dancing (with) words” (monday april 9)

Anipoemas… the only one of these collection of poems and works that I enjoyed.


Maybe it’s because they don’t just use words and letters, they use sounds as well.

The other works felt boring or not “immersive” enough, because most of the words in the other poems didn’t quite convey their meaning.

But, I guess it’s harder to make an image with words than it is with just letters.

Still, anipoemas place the concrete in poetry and it didn’t even had to use a shovel. 

(Source: intro2elit)

short response to “D.l.o.L.”, “Puddle” and “S.P.”

I feel a bit strange after going trough Jörg Piringer’s “SoundPoems”. It was like playing small flash games, but with words being the objects.I think I spent more time on these games than doing my french homework. I tried to crash the “gravity” one, but it didn’t seem to crack even with me “clicking in” letters really fast.

"The dream life of letters" by Kim Stefans, was a bit boring, but maybe it’s because it’s based on an essay, and essays are particularly boring for "unimportant" college students people like me.

"Puddle" by Neil Hennessy was probably the best one. Yes, the best one. It gave the words a good feeling of characterization. Just by performing short actions with one letter inside the word he could express their meanings. 

In general, I found these works were interesting, but some of them were missing something. Puddle was the best, conveying meaning with minimum details, Piringer’s poems where interactive and sometimes funny and Kim’s work was… well, let’s just say I didn’t want to “run the whole damn thing” again.

short response to Knoebel.

interesting how Knoebel uses simple visual movements of words to convey part of an idea about his texts.Like a man falling on a piece of plywood or another one in deep thought.


It seems like we’ve been here before. We’ve discussed how this type of literary work can be used to mimic a persons thoughts. It can be used to promote free thinking like Dan Waber’s “sestinas” or just to express a short story like “Walkdon’t” does. Pretty cool how the little point in the middle works. It changes the green “walk” words to “don’t walk” in sort of an orange. When you walk you turn and think about many things, but you are also thinking of moving. When you don’t walk you are dueling on other thoughts, but you don’t have to think about moving. That’s why the whole poem stops turning and only a few words rotate.

Anyway it hints to me that it is a guy worrying about something and walking (or not walking) affect his flow of thoughts differently.


short response on “trope”

Let me get to the point first. The work that attracted me the most on “trope island” is the one with the lady bug. I don’t know why I found it funny that she hummed when she touched it… anyway, I think I may have missed the point of most of the other poems.In a sense, I felt lost. Maybe that was the point…

In general, the way this medium is used to promote literary works is great, but they have to be careful, the sheer randomness and “uncomfortableness” of some of these would scare away anyone not studying or interested in literary research.


realMyst - just wish it was more interactive.

At first I thought it was just an exploring game full of boring cut scenes and puzzles, but as I got into the story and met Atrus which pretty much explained what the hell was going on I found it to be pretty cool(at the fricking end). By the way, almost got fooled by Sirrus, he seemed like a pretty smart guy and Archenar… well, I thought he was crazy since the beginning, but when I saw one of his rooms, I never opened the blue book again. Also the flower hologram in another one of his rooms… creepy… nightmare fuel…

I really liked how they placed the videos on the books, making it seem as if it really was a portal, and Atrus’s book also showed a loop, where it seemed as if he was really there writing his book. I found Atrus’s image inside the D’ni very amazing. It wasn’t a 3D model, it was more like loops of different shots put together.

Now, the sounds really made it come to life, although the bubble sound in the stoneship age became a pain after a while. It was interesting how the music in Sirrus’s rooms kind of added to make you believe he was the good guy.

I give it a 7/10.
It was a nice experience, but sometimes I just really hard to find the info I needed to proceed. Also, I wish it was more interactive. Pulling levers and pressing buttons and pulling drawers was getting very repetitive.

Comparing this to a book, I believe a book would offer a more linear and more detailed narrative, while this game uses the players actions to advance the narrative. Another thing I could say is that the game takes more dedication, since you have to be the one to solve the mystery, while in a book, you just read till the story ends.


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