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J. R. Carpenter
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"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.