Artist Carmen Winant has launched a new film, titled Togethering, detailing the continued significance of the ‘womyn’s lands’ of recent feminist history, a companion piece to her book Notes on Fundamental Joy
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In her book published last year, Notes on Fundamental Joy; seeking the elimination of oppression through the social and political transformation of the patriarchy that otherwise threatens to bury us, Carmen Winant compiled found imagery of women engaging with photography, both behind and in front of the camera. The images were all taken in feminist and lesbian communities that existed in the Pacific Northwest, USA, in the early 1980s, marking Winant’s continued interest in exploring the ‘womyns’ lands’ of that era; a previous installation, Lesbian Lands, comprised a large wooden structure, built in a gallery space around found imagery from a similar womyn-only community in Oregan the 1970s.
Notes on Fundamental Joy’s publisher Printed Matter – which is producing extended digital programmes around many of its existing titles, to be enjoyed by viewers from home – has debuted new text and film pieces by Winant to accompany signed copies of the book. The artist will be in conversation with photographer Carol Osmer Newhouse today at 3pm EST, discussing the legacies and histories of these feminist communities. “The two will explore the aims and hopes of Womyn’s Lands with a focus on how image-making and self-taught photography workshops (such as the Ovulars) played a central role in picturing a new identity and selfhood,” says Printed Matter, such photography projects running as a central throughout Notes on Fundamental Joy.
Winant’s new video work Togethering, described as a companion piece to Notes on Fundamental Joy, is a 20-minute piece made up of found footage and narrated by the artist. “This will be a presentation about other people’s bravery, about photography as a tool for living, and about the distance between lives,” she says. For the work, Winant looked to a compelling variety of material: the experimental work of Maya Deren, archival footage from the Lesbian Home Movie Project, and clips from the 1984 Polish cult film Seksmisja. The text from which Winant reads to narrate the film is a rich yet compact history of how womyn’s lands established themselves and their values.
As ever, Winant’s new works, created to sit alongside Notes on Fundamental Joy, provide astute studies of how such feminist imagery and history continue to be relevant, necessary impactful today. “Feminism is a filter through which I live my life,” Winant told AnOther in 2018.
See Printed Matter’s website for information on the conversation between Carmen Winant and Carol Osmer Newhouse, and Togethering.