J. R. Carpenter

“In Absentia” is J.R. Carpenter’s web-based, hypertext narrative. According to the writer, “In Absentia” can be seen as “a slightly fantastical world, a shared memory of the neighborhood as it never really was but as it could have been . . . a map of the sudden disappearances of characters.” Carpenter’s website allows readers to enter a bilingual, fragmented narrative space that they navigate in an open-ended fashion.

This 2008 project uses Google Map technology and images of Montreal, Quebec, blended with a series of symbols and landmarks chosen by the author. Just as the maps negotiate media environment and real environments, they reflect characters that may or not be factual characters. Carpenter offers six different, interactive maps. Users are able to click on images to cue a pop-up window to appear on the screen. Each pop-up produces a story that Carpenter has written about the location or the characters.

J. R. Carpenter is a poet, fiction writer and web artist based in Montreal. Her work has been exhibited internationally and received commissions from the Conseil des Arts de Montreal. She has been awarded fellowships or residencies at Yaddo, Ucross, The Banff Centre, and The Vermont Studio Center. Her novel, Words the Dog Knows, was published by Conundrum Press (Montreal) in 2008. Carpenter also serves as the President of OBORO, a gallery and new media lab in Montreal, since 2006.


Abduallah Al-Badarneh
Dominique Ficalora