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Published on Sep 10, 2010
Episode #119: Carrie Mae Weems describes the impetus for her series "Roaming" (2006). An investigation into "the edifice of power," Weems performed a series of photographic actions throughout Rome, Italy, contrasting her body with grand architectural structures and monumental surroundings.
Weems's vibrant explorations of photography, video, and verse breathe new life into traditional narrative forms—social documentary, tableaux, self-portrait, and oral history. Eliciting epic contexts from individually framed moments, Weems debunks racist and sexist labels, examines the relationship between power and aesthetics, and uses personal biography to articulate broader truths. Whether adapting or appropriating archival images, restaging famous news photographs, or creating altogether new scenes, she traces an indirect history of the depiction of African Americans for more than a century.