Tino Sehgal
These Associations

Every year, Tate Modern's Turbine Hall is handed over to an artist as part of the Unilever Ser…
Every year, Tate Modern's Turbine Hall is handed over to an artist as part of the Unilever Series.

In 2012, Tino Sehgal filled the hall with fleeting encounters and fragile experiences.

I was one of the more than 200 interpreters, of whom at least 30 were in the hall at any one time during opening hours.

Visitors could watch us play games according to rules that were often too difficult to figure out, yet the rules were very simple and led to different degrees of connection between interpreters.

The result was a range of group movement patterns that sometimes embraced visitors, at other times teased them, and at yet other times visitors got in the way - either willingly or unwillingly.

But movement was only a small piece of the action, as we occasionally burst into songs with complex, philosophical lyrics.

The most intense parts of These Associations were the conversations with visitors, which often ended as monologues on our part.

Cutting out all small talk, we directly answered rather deep questions that visitors had not asked, thus giving them something intimate and personal from our lives, much like a highly individual gift. It was up to the visitors to decide whether they wanted to probe further, to give an account of own experiences in return, or to stay silent.

A friend of mine who was approached multiple times by fellow interpreters felt "intellectually raped". Not all opinions were that extreme, but the reviews and other feedback shows that people were both fascinated and touched once they overcame the shock moment of having a deep and meaningful conversation with a stranger.

I took part in this exhibition for the full run of three months on a part-time basis.