An Ocean of Static

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"J.R. Carpenter draws language through the icy passage of code's style" Nick Montfort

An Ocean of Static transforms the dense, fragmented archive of the North Atlantic into an astonishing sea of fresh new text. From the late 15th century onwards, a flurry of voyages were made into the North Atlantic in search of fish, the fabled Northwest Passage, and beyond into the territories purely imaginary. Today, this vast expanse is crisscrossed with ocean and wind currents, submarine cables and wireless signals, seabirds and passengers, static and cargo ships.

In this long-awaited poetry debut by award-winning digital writer and artist J.R. Carpenter, cartographic and maritime vernaculars inflected with the syntax and grammar of ships logs and code languages splinter and pulse across the page. Haunting, politically charged and formally innovative, An Ocean of Static presents an ever-shifting array of variables. Amid global currents of melting sea ice and changing ocean currents Carpenter charts the elusive passages of women and of animals, of indigenous people and of migrants, of strange noises and of phantom islands.

This book is made of other books. The texts in this book are composed of facts, fictions, fragments, and codes collected from accounts of voyages undertaken over the past 2,340 years or so, into the North Atlantic, in search of the Northwest Passage, and beyond, into territories purely imaginary. The texts in this book are intended to be read on the page and to serve as scripts for the live performance of a body of web-based works. These texts retain traces of the syntax and grammar of code languages.

Critical writing that references this work:

Screen shots: 
J. R. Carpenter || An Ocean of Static, Penned in the Margins, 2018
J. R. Carpenter || An Ocean of Static, Penned in the Margins, 2018
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J. R. Carpenter