J. R. Carpenter

Published On


Page Range

pp. 243-266

Print Length

23 pages

10. Writing on the Cusp of Becoming Something Else

  • J. R. Carpenter (author)
As an academic writer, researcher, and educator Carpenter necessarily invested in the rules of citation. As an artist and author of artist’s books, print books, and web-based works of digital literature, however, over the past twenty years she has made extensive use of ‘found’ materials, mixing my own writing, drawing, and photography with images, diagrams, and maps cut and copied from old magazines and textbooks, and source code ‘borrowed’ from dusty corners of the Web. This chapter aims to reconcile these seemingly oppositional tendencies by framing the material appropriation of text as both a compositional process and a contribution to a larger cultural project. In making this argument Carpenter draws upon performance writing methodology, which takes a conceptually broad, historically long, and overtly interdisciplinary approach to considering the performance of text in relation to a wide range of social, cultural, material, mediatic, and disciplinary contexts. Critical and fiscal focus needs to shift away from the publisher and the consumer and toward the writers and the writing. Digital writing, for example, presents complex new contexts for reading, writing, and publishing in which divisions between original and copy, user and product, reader and consumer, and author and publisher are becoming increasingly unclear. How does writing perform differently on the page, on the screen, and online? How can we think and write about writing as not residing in any of these media but rather operating across multiple media, always on the cusp of becoming something else?


J. R. Carpenter