The artist presents three outtakes from MHYSA-OneInAMillion.mp4 (2020), the fourth video in the Lavendra/Recovery series. In the Lavendra/Recovery series, Jane recreates and reinterprets R&B music videos from the 1990s collected in a digital film archive using webcams, green screen, cellphone footage and found videos and images from the internet. In these videos, Jane’s alter-ego MHYSA acts as the performer while dancing, lip-syncing, and singing (often joyfully off-key) in a fangirl homage to the Black Diva Archetype.
In these clips you see hidden moments—where a makeshift tripod fails, where the artist exerts control as both performer and director, asking MHYSA/her body to try different gestures, etc. As a Black femme, the artist proclaims agency and autonomy: a restorative act to have so much control over their own body given oppressive histories of slavery and subjugation.
E. Jane is an Interdisciplinary artist and musician based in Brooklyn, New York. Inspired by Black liberation and womanist praxis, their work incorporates digital images, video, text, performance, sculpture, installation, and sound design. E. Jane’s work explores safety and futurity as it relates to Black femmes, as well as how Black femmes navigate/negotiate space in popular culture and networked media. Since 2015, Jane has been developing the performance persona, MHYSA, an underground popstar for the cyber resistance. MHYSA operates in Jane’s Lavendra/Recovery (2015-), an iterative multimedia installation, and out in the world. Jane considers this project a total work of art–or Gesamtkunstwerk–that honors, explores, and examines the life of the Black diva and of Black women in popular culture. In 2018, MHYSA followed her critically acclaimed debut, fantasii, with a live audio-visual experience touring Europe and North America. Highlight performances include the ICA and Cafe OTO in London, NRML in Mexico City, Rewire in The Hague, Counterflows in Glasgow, Moogfest in Durham, and HOCO Fest in Tucson where she opened for Dean Blunt and Lil B. Her new album NEVAEH came out in February 2020 on Hyperdub records in London.
Born in Bethesda, Maryland in 1990, E. Jane received their MFA from the University of Pennsylvania in 2016 and a BA in Art History with minors in English and Philosophy from Marymount Manhattan College in New York in 2012. They have performed at The Kitchen, MoCADA and MoMA PS1 as one half of sound duo SCRAAATCH. They have shown work from their solo practice internationally and in the US. In 2015 they wrote the widely-circulated NOPE manifesto, which was published by the Brooklyn-based digital publishers, Codette. They were a 2016 recipient of the Wynn Newhouse Award and their installation, Lavendra/Recovery, has been shown as solo exhibitions entitled “Lavendra” both at American Medium in Brooklyn, NY in 2017 and at Glasgow International 2018 in Scotland. Jane was a 2019-20 Artist in Residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem and is currently a Harvard College Fellow in New Media at Harvard University alongside collaborator chukwumaa as a part of SCRAAATCH.