Curatorial Statement

What are the creative and poetic possibilities of RSS syndication and how might the introduction of omnipresent, iterative publishing processes affect our experience of digital literature? How can a book be transformed and reworked through an exploration of the formal and aesthetic structure of the stream?

Tributaries & Text-Fed Streams is a project by J.R. Carpenter in which Carpenter approaches the text of an issue of literary quarterly The Capilano Review (TCR) as a raw material in the creation of a new artwork.

Carpenter draws on a range of strategies and traditions including literary criticism, illustration, blogging, coding, writing, and digital intervention, using these to articulate an experimental space that equates and associates water with text.

The work is an eddy within the internet, a place where information - commentary, image, text, metadata - coalesce for a moment, before flowing back out into and through other channels. The written word mixes and dissolves, never static, not quite discrete. Related imagery circulates within and without the confines of the artwork, raising questions of boundary. We navigate within this work as we would through wild, quiet rivers. Reading is wayfinding. We pass through texts and text fragments, through citations, links, footnotes, self-author, other-author, patches of whimsy. Social media meets scholarly tracemaking. Categories become headwaters: comments, islands. It is a "text-fed stream", moving with undercurrents and process.

The work extends our experience of the nature of the digital stream and invites new questions about material, temporality, repetition, and the archive in connection with the electronic word.

-Kate Armstrong, 2008

Project Description

In February 2007, Vancouver-based literary quarterly The Capilano Review published an issue dedicated to new writing and new technologies guest-edited by Andrew Klobucar and including essays by Andrew Klobucar, Global Telelanguage Resources, Sandra Seekins, Kate Armstrong, David Jhave Johnston, Laura U. Marks, Sharla Sava, Kevin Magee, Jim Andrews, Gordon Winiemko, Nancy Paterson and Darren Wershler-Henry. Tributaries & Text-fed Streams: A Feed-Reading of The Capilano Review is a new artwork commissioned by The Capilano Review and curated by Kate Armstrong in which Montreal-based writer and artist J.R. Carpenter undertakes an experimental rereading of and response to this text.


J.R. Carpenter
J. R. Carpenter is a two-time winner of the CBC Quebec Short Story Competition and a Web Art Finalist in the Drunken Boat Panliterary Awards 2006. Her electronic literature has been presented at the Musee des beaux-arts (Montreal) and the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (Toronto), and is included in the Electronic Literature Collection Volume One, the Rhizome ArtBase and the Web Biennial 2007 (Istanbul). Her short fiction has been broadcast on CBC Radio, translated into French and anthologized in Le livre de chevet, Short Stuff, Lust for Life and In Other Words, and has appeared in journals including Geist, The New Quarterly, Blood & Aphorisims and Matrix. A fellow of Yaddo, Ucross and the Banff New Media Institute, she has been awarded grants in literature and in new media from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Quebec. She presently serves as President of the Board of Directors of OBORO, a gallery and new media lab in Montreal. Her first novel, Words the Dog Knows, is forthcoming from Conundrum Press in Fall 2008. More information about J. R. Carpenter's fiction and electronic literature can be found online at:

Kate Armstrong
Kate Armstrong is an artist and writer working with networks, participatory systems, and computational poetics. Her projects have taken a variety of forms including net art, psychogeography, installation, audio, performance, painting, and robotics. Recent exhibitions include IAO Gallery, Oklahoma City, US; Yerba Buena Centre for the Arts, San Francisco, US; ISEA, San Jose, US; Simon Fraser University Gallery, Burnaby, Canada; Centre A, Vancouver, Canada; Western Front, Vancouver, Canada; Open Space, Victoria, Canada; Akbank Sanat, Istanbul, Turkey; and Prairie Art Gallery, Grande Prairie, Canada. She has written for P.S 1/MoMA, TrAce, Year Zero One, The Capilano Review, The Kootenay School of Writing, and The Thing, among others. Her first book, Crisis & Repetition: Essays on Art and Culture, was published in 2002. Armstrong is the director of Upgrade Vancouver.