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in absentia


in absentia is a site-specific web-based writing project by J.R. Carpenter with guest authors: Lance Blomgren, Andy Brown, Daniel Canty, Gambletron and Colette Tougas. in absentia was created in 2008 with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, and presented by DARE-DARE Centre de diffusion d'art multidisciplinaire de Montréal.

in absentia launched on June 24, 2008, with a dance party in the parc sans nom, between Saint-Laurent and Clark, under the Van Horne viaduct. New stories were added over the summer, in English and French. A closing party was held in conjunction with the launch of J. R. Carpenter's first novel, Words the Dog Knows, (conundrum press), at Sky Blue Door, 5403 B Saint-Laurent, November 7, 2008, 7-11pm.

in absentia addresses issues of gentrification and its erasures in the Mile End neighbourhood of Montreal. In recent years many long-time low-income neighbours being forced out of Mile End by gentrification. So far fiction is the best way I've found to give voice these disappeared neighbours, and the web is the best place I've found to situate their stories. Our stories. My building is for sale; my family may be next. Faced with imminent eviction I've begun to write as if I'm no longer here, about a Mile End that is no longer here. By manipulating the Google Maps API, I aim to populate "real" satellite images of my neighbourhood with "fictional" characters and events. in absentia is a web "site" haunted by the stories of former residents of Mile End, a slightly fantastical world, a shared memory of the neighbourhood as it never really was but as it could have been. [JRC 2008]

The launch of in absentia marked the end of DARE-DARE's Dis/location: projet d'articulation urbaine. On July 1st, DARE-DARE's blue trailer left the vacant lot that was its home for two years and move towards Montreal's downtown, in Cabot Square, corner Sainte-Catherine and Atwater.