Martine Syms uses video, installation, and performance to examine representations of blackness and its relationship to vernacular, feminist thought, and radical traditions. Her research-based work draws on her extensive studies of theoretical models concerned with performed or imposed identities, the power of the gesture, and embedded assumptions around gender and racial inequalities.
For the Secession, Syms has created an immersive installation comprised of a sculptural intervention, a sound installation, and a photographic collage, with each element referencing the Detroit-based Simpson’s Record Shop. Expanding on Syms’s interest in black-owned businesses as sites of interdependence and self-determination, the new work highlights the Simpson’s Record Shop as one such business. Boon pays tribute to the enterprise and creative energy with which Dorothy Simpson ran the record store, a center of the local community’s cultural, social, and economic life and gathering spot for its residents, from 1966 until 2018.