How I Loved the Broken Things of Rome

Description (in English): 

How I Loved the Broken Things of Rome pieces together fragments of history, poetry, video, photography and cartography 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. My struggles with slang, schedules, and social vagaries reminded me acutely of when I first moved to Montréal. Understanding what's going on around me now seems to be less a question of the acquisition of language than one of overcoming the dislocation of being a stranger. In her poem The Fall of Rome: A Traveller's Guide Montréal poet Anne Carson writes: "A stranger is someone desperate for conversation." I certainly found that to be the case. 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.

How I Loved the Broken Things of Rome was produced in residency at OBORO’s New Media Lab with the financial support of the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec.

NT2 entry: 
Pull Quotes: 

When I could not speak because I knew no Roman tongues and all day long I was overwhelmed by fragments - headless statues littering the gardens and the museums, full of shelves of heads of stone - for days on end I roamed alone in beauty. When I could not think because I was hungry or tired or lost in a crowd of conversation, when even if I wanted to I could not seek answers to ineffectual questions - "How long will it take?" "It is impossible to know this…" What I wanted I could not say.

Technical notes: 

uses popup windows, requires quicktime plugin

Screen shots: 
Main page of the work, poerm center in scrolling text box, surrounded by navigational image collage.
A tooltip, with image of a ruined archway, appears when hovering over an illustrated map on the page
A new window opened by the navigational menu, with a quote related to Rome and another image collage
A sub page of English phrases translated to Italian, with a multimedia collage below.
Another subpage, with a quote on Rome from Maguerite Yourcener and a multimedia collage.
A gallery display of the work: Web pages displayed as printed placards, affixed to an orange wall.
Below the placards, the work is available as a printed pamphlet, also displayed horizontally.
Close up image of the pamphlets; they're in separate stacks, spaced apart, affixed by a wooden bar.
Digital version of the work, dispøayed on a computer in the gallery space, next to the work's title.
The permanent URL of this page: 
Record posted by: 
J. R. Carpenter