press release

J. R. Carpenter Residence, January 2005

How I Loved the Broken Things of Rome is a web art project combining historical research, poetics, video and photography collected during an extended stay in Rome. This work reflects upon certain gaps between the fragment and the whole, between the local and the tourist, between what is known of history and what is speculative. Rome is among the largest and oldest continuously occupied archaeological sites in the world. Daily life is complicated, even for the locals. Everything is running late, circuitous, or quasi-rotto. Romanticism and pragmatism must coexist. In my struggles with slang, schedules, and social vagaries, I came to feel that understanding what was happening around me was less a question of acquisition of language, than one of overcoming the dislocation of being a stranger. There were days in Rome that I did not, could not, speak to anyone. Oxford Archaeological Guide and cameras in tow, I tried to capture something of the impossibly elusive and fragmentary nature of language amid Rome‚s broken columns, headless statues and other, often unidentifiable, ruins.

J. R. Carpenter is a poet, fiction writer and visual artist, originally from rural Nova Scotia, now living in Montréal. She studied Life Drawing and Anatomy at the Art Students‚ league of New York, and Fibres and Sculpture at Concordia University. Since 1993 she has experimented with the Internet‚s potential, as a medium, to intertextual, non-linear narratives. Her poetry, essays and short fiction have been published in Canada, the United States and Europe. She is a winner of the CBC Québec Short Story Competition, 2003. Further information about her writing and to view her web art projects, please visit


J. R. Carpenter - How I Loved The Broken Things of Rome