Today from our friends at ARTS.BLACK we bring you the third installment of author Ashley Stull Meyers’ series Curating in an Era of Change. In this iteration of the work, Meyers interviews conceptual artist E. Jane. They discuss the internet as exhibition space, academia, and navigating the art world—and the world at large—as Black women. E. Jane states, “I think the social media feed has some Utopian possibility inside of art, in that the artist, especially artists whose cultural groups are socially dispossessed, has more agency and access than inside the gallery and can reach more publics that may be afraid or intimidated by traditional art spaces.” This article was originally published in 2016.
Ashley Stull Meyers: You’ve catalyzed the internet so well in both your work as an artist and in personal efforts to talk about problems in Contemporary Art. Can you talk about the importance of the internet as a platform for you? Is it the best mode for visibility and reach, or is your love for it something else entirely?
E. Jane: In some ways the internet has always been my primary platform for communication. I’ve been on a computer since I was four, and I think I came to consciousness there. I think the internet makes reality feel malleable or shapeable in some way; platforms like newhive are making it easy to express art ideas on the web without needing to code.
ASM: Conceptually, though, is it a large part of your thinking? You’ve housed several projects on Instagram, and hashtags like “#cindygate” and “#notyetdead” have crowdsourced a discourse for the issues you raise in a way that may not be as far-reaching otherwise.
EJ: The internet is a site to think, and I do think about its role in my work and in our world, but it’s more embedded into my reality than something I think about daily. I think about the internet as a site to make work and the abilities that that space allows, as well as its limitations. Early on in grad school, I had more hope about the internet as a safe space, but the safety there is contingent on so many things—security settings, offline networks, etc.—and so, I’m still searching for that real safe space Black women and femmes can go, while also utilizing the internet as a place to disseminate certain works and ideas rapidly.