Carmen Winant - On Liberation

Recorded remotely on 26th July 2020, Gem Fletcher chats with renowned artist, writer and educator Carmen Winant. Her expansive art practice uses text and image to question the patriarchal framework that surrounds women’s bodies. She confronts, unveils and reimagines within her practice to empower agency and liberation. Through the collection and aggregation of found imagery, she examines the limitations of photography to transmute the human experience in all its complexity. My birth, her renowned work that constitutes 2000 images from books, pamphlets and magazines about birth was selected for MOMA's New Photography exhibition in 2018. Carmen also published an evolution of the project in book form with SPBH.


In this conversation, Carmen shares the evolution of her art practice and the challenges she faced defining her work methodologies outside the expectations and traditions of the art world. We talk about how she pivoted away from taking photographs to building worlds using specific and nuanced found imagery. We discuss ways of working and how Carmen seeks to collapse the space between the process and the final product. She takes us behind the scenes on her latest book ‘Notes on Fundamental Joy; seeking the elimination of oppression through the social and political transformation of the patriarchy that otherwise threatens to bury us’. The project is an experimental work that sits at the cross-section of an artists' project and historical document, drawing from archival images borne out of the Ovulars, a series of darkroom/photography workshops held in various feminist & lesbian separatist communes of the early 80s across the Pacific Northwest. We talk about radical optimism, feminism and the psychological and physical act of art-making.


Follow Carmen on Instagram @carmen.winant on Instagram and visit to see her work. Follow Gem @gemfletcher on Instagram and Twitter. If you've enjoyed this episode PLEASE leave us your feedback and maybe 5 stars if we're worthy in the Apple Podcast store. Thank you for listening to The Messy Truth, we will be back very soon. For all requests, please email


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