Literary Profile: Carmen Winant's Collage of the Creative and Critical

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Carmen Winant embraces her identity as a writer, artist and professor, even as she recognizes that these modes require both setting and blurring boundaries. Winant, who moved to Columbus this past fall to teach at CCAD, holds both an MFA and MA in Visual and Critical Studies. “The idea was always that my intellectual and studio life could not be extricable from each other,” she shared when we spoke about her work. Her new book, “My Life as a Man” (published by Horses Think Press), explores and explodes the creative process of both art-making and writing.

The idea for “My Life as a Man” is that it’s a single collage. Throughout the pages it arranges, deconstructs, reconstructs and echoes the process of being in the studio. It’s interspersed with 12 pieces of writing by critics, poets, other artists — I asked them each to submit a piece of writing that was unfinished. Ultimately, the collage is never resolved. Since I am a writer, I always think about how to integrate text and image, and how both of these things resolve and break down.

In recent years, I’ve veered away from writing about only art. I used to be a very serious athlete. In my former life, I was a long-distance competitive runner and so I think a lot about the nexus of athletics and culture, and art and culture, and even a triangulation of the three.

When I write I am of a critical mind, and when I make art, I am of an anti-critical mind. I actually try to make anti-intellectual art … art that enacts rituals, that is about exhaustion, repetition, failure, stamina.

As part of this book release, we’re doing a series of short, performative lectures that take on ideas around the book. I gave one at MOCA [the Museum of Contemporary Art in LA] about montage and collage. The next one will be about athletic life and discipline, and another will be about contemporary feminist history.

I think there are more hybridized creative producers in the world now than there were maybe even10 years ago. I do think there should be more space for hybridized practices, as there once was before these fields became hyper-professionalized.

Facts and Favorites

Name: Carmen Winant

Neighborhood: Weinland Park

Local gallery: COR&P and the Project Room in Canzani at CCAD

Podcasts: "Fresh Air," "Radiolab," "The Bookworm"

TV show: "Broad City"

Coffee shops: Fox in the Snow, One Line

Authors: Roberto Bolaño, Anne Carson, Zadie Smith, Ben Lerner, John Kelsey