Symoné: “Artists that make me really feel one thing encourage me”

Phrases by Maria Elena Ricci.

Extravagant, immersive, athletic and multidisciplinary, Symoné is a one-of-a-kind artist with an plain, awe-some expertise. From spinning 50 hula hoops on her physique without delay whereas skating on excessive heels, to presenting her work at standard and unconventional inventive venues, Symoné strikes although the performing arts flawlessly and courageously. 

DAJ: You conceive your physique as a ‘multiversal device’. What do you imply by that? 

Symoné : There’s a lot we are able to do and say with our our bodies; for a very long time I’ve been excited by communications, notably physique language, sociology and linguistics. I studied linguistics at college and thought that this was what I used to be obsessed with, however discovered myself extra excited by how we are able to inform tales with the physique. I wish to preserve exploring how we use the physique. I imagine our our bodies are endlessly in a position to obtain and achieve this a lot, say a lot, and I believe there may be at all times rather more that hasn’t been found.

DAJ: Your work as a multidisciplinary performer lives in several inventive cultures, from underground events to industrial and modern artwork. I’m excited by what variations, structural or extra particular, you’ve seen or skilled in these totally different contexts? 

Symoné: These areas are all so totally different for positive. The primary two types of labor that come to thoughts that really feel very contrasting, just like the “entertainer vs artist” are the company areas vs. the reside artwork performing areas. Firstly to say that is all based mostly on my expertise and ability set, it’s not gospel. I are likely to work in company settings as a circus artist, however there are company reside artwork occasions, I suppose I’m notably referring to the occasions that rent “leisure”… So there’s a language that I’m utilizing that isn’t common. 

Company areas are likely to lean extra in the direction of crowd pleaser expertise, fast reveals, and excessive ability degree performing. These are usually situated in luxurious lodges, non-public occasions, company dinner events, and so on. and costuming and “look” could be very particular. 

If it had been a sort of spectrum, reside artwork is rather more expressive and the pacing of a efficiency is much more lenient. This tends to be carried out in all forms of places from artwork galleries, basement golf equipment, artwork centres, outside areas, and so on. From my expertise, I really feel just like the expertise and artistry is valued in all these reveals. 

Then there may be cabaret, outside work, indoor theatre, I believe these locations can combine artist vs entertainer and you may be extra versatile to how far on that spectrum you wish to go, like there’s extra freedom. A minimum of, that is how I strategy it. Additionally to say, this very a lot my skilled based mostly on what I do! I might say in my expertise with reside artwork vs company settings…after I mentioned “there’s a particular look” in company settings I really meant gender and the way there may be an significance in conforming to magnificence requirements in these worlds and fluidity of gender (until you’re a drag queen) doesn’t appear to be one thing these areas will supply. Whereas all of those areas supply one thing totally different as a performer expertise and the viewers, truthfully I worth working in all these areas, I can categorical totally different elements of me. 

DAJ: What influences your work? 

Symoné: I get requested this rather a lot! I believe in my early years I used to be impressed by circus artists and cabaret, however discover myself the previous few years extra excited by these outdoors my main fields (notably writers, visible artists, technologists). Additionally, I’m impressed by artists and makers which have this “realness” and by realness I imply artists that make me really feel one thing. I like combining expertise and varieties and at all times studying new issues. Studying poetry, enjoying video video games, cooking and touring helps encourage and influences my work. 

My favorite: Taking walks in nature. The extra I open my thoughts and do an exercise outdoors my very own, the extra it simply appears to feed into my work by pure feeling. I don’t actually really feel excited or impressed by what’s occurring Instagram or tiktok, I believe it’s superficially attention-grabbing nevertheless it doesn’t stimulate me sufficient to really feel like I wish to create like these different inspirational varieties. That’s me I do know! I’m not saying these locations can’t be inspiring, however I believe saying what does and doesn’t encourage you is essential, understanding who you’re as an artist is essential… 

DAJ: How do you see your work in dialogue with previous, current and future? 

Symoné: Bear with me attempting to elucidate this! Thematically time is one thing that appears to creep in subconsciously for my items. 

UTOPIAN (t&c’s apply) responded to energy roles, why they’re abused and the way hierarchy exists. When making this work I checked out my private previous and referenced human historical past and mirrored on these subjects. I regarded into the longer term craving for a sort of queer utopia. I used the Greek etymology of the phrase ‘utopia’ (that means “no the place”) as inspiration for this piece. I’ve a eager for one thing that appears too advanced to exist, however one thing I dream may exist in our future and I communicate to the current and future about this sense.

Euphorica, our ensemble costume based mostly efficiency concerning the relationship to queerness and nature, has an identical intention with a sort of speculative fiction strategy. A lot of this work pertains to the previous and future, of how LGBTQIA+ individuals had been recognized, how they had been both honored extremely or disregarded and wanted to stay hidden alongside how nature strikes past time and human communication. This communication system was impressed from nature plus the previous when LGBTQIA+ individuals used coded methods throughout strict anti-homosexuality legal guidelines within the U.Okay as one instance. With this present we dreamed of a sort of queer telepathic community that was past our present senses and communication system as people. I believe just like UTOPIAN (t&c’s apply), there’s a feeling of “wanting right into a way forward for queer utopia” that this present is impressed from. 

A videogame I’m at the moment engaged on is considering reminiscence loss and the ability of the thoughts. Whereas I’m nonetheless figuring out what this piece is doing precisely, I believe I’m simply fascinated by know-how proper now, the place it’s going and the way a lot you should use it with artwork and storytelling. I’d say when it comes to time, it’s change into a reference for temper and aesthetic, how know-how regarded and sounded prior to now (the way it glitched, the sounds, and so on) and utilizing this aesthetic throughout the storytelling to attach the concepts of reminiscences/and the previous. 

DAJ: What’s the position of care and pleasure in your work?

Symoné: Care is a phrase I like to contemplate, however pleasure is a phrase I just like the sound of serious about it extra! By way of care, I believe it’s one thing I take into consideration within the course of of making my work. For me, creating in a caring atmosphere provides playfulness and good communication. By way of pleasure, I suppose the primary phrase that involves thoughts is voyeurism. It’s a phrase I like to contemplate extra within the closing product of a few of my performances, and within the second as part of my character. I believe it’s a robust and empowering device I get pleasure from utilizing.

So far as care, I do worth “processed centered work” that means work that’s created mindfully with the method in thoughts. Creating playfully and in a timeline that looks like pleasure is essential to me. It’s like creating turns into meditative and creatively stimulating slightly than rushed and unenjoyable. 

Picture by Studio Radar.

DAJ: You possibly can spin 50 hula hoops in your physique without delay, all while skating on excessive heels! What does your coaching and schedule appear to be? 

Symoné: I used to coach 3-5 hours every week my first few years. I believe this was helpful in my observe however have since switched up my coaching to extra “micro coaching” 20 minutes to an hour a pair instances every week…which generally involves the identical period of time as earlier than, however mainly I don’t crash and have to get well like earlier than and permits me to do extra reveals healthily! 

My coaching periods usually appear to be warm-up, conditioning centered (harm prevention workout routines) creatively centered (creating new methods/strikes, and transitions) or drills (redoing actions and methods I take advantage of in reveals to additional ingrain them in my physique). Consistency is vital.

DAJ: Are you at the moment engaged on any new productions? 

Symoné: Sure! As I discussed briefly I’m newly engaged on a present and videogame concerning the energy of the unconscious thoughts and goals. It’s one other fusion of reside artwork and circus and at the moment within the mode of getting it out into the world. When? Unsure but! Arts Council England have supported this preliminary R&D, and I purpose to have artist chats concerning the strategy of creation so if this pursuits you to debate I hope to share extra of this quickly on my Instagram and e-newsletter. Sorry for the dearth of particulars proper now on what I’m making. I’m attempting to not share an excessive amount of info on this stage however positively price retaining eyes open (and for those who’re a programmer searching for new work and studying this please be at liberty to get in contact I’d be glad to speak)! 

My present Euphorica and UTOPIAN (t&’s apply) are in planning mode, they are going to be out 2024/2025 for a tour for those who missed it in 2022.

Subsequent present dates: Showwomxn by Marisa Carnesky September sixteenth – Full day of durational facet present performances by 16 of the UK’s main showwomxn (Smithfields). Header picture by Captured by Corinne.