Tino Sehgal’s These associations, now taking place in Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall is the first live art piece to be commissioned for the Unilever Series. As you can read in participant Matthew Engelke’s article, the work consists of live encounters between people. Using choreographed movement, sound, music and conversation, the Turbine Hall becomes inhabited by the physical and vocal energy of the participants and visitors.

  • Artist Tino Seghal outside Tate Modern
    Tino Seghal outside Tate Modern, 2012

This work only exists in these actions and for those who take part, whether as passive viewers, chosen participants or active audience members. As Engelke puts it:

As an American who has lived in London for ten years, it’s disconcerting (but also quite nice) to have near strangers not only acknowledge your existence but start talking to you for no particular reason. All of this is central not only to the enactment of the piece, but its conceptualization and production. Indeed, in many ways, the memory is the art, the sociality is the art.

But it’s interesting to think that for some the disruption to social codes that pieces like These associations introduce (such as when strangers speak to each other and on what topics) could be disconcerting and disturbing rather than ‘quite nice’.

Art that discomfits can be as powerful as that that aims to builds a sense of shared experience, and so for today’s Tate Debate we’re asking for your experiences of taking part in an art work: disturbing, uplifting, joyful or sad and asking:

What has taking active part in an artwork brought to you as an audience member?

Leave your responses in the comments box below.

Hear Tino Seghal in conversation or book for a curator talk on the artist.

Tate Debate sponsored by Vodafone



I spent 40 minutes or so in the Turbine Hall yesterday.

Treated for cancer last year, with my husband currently in treatment, I found the gathering around me, standing by me, sitting at my feet very significant and comforting. Cancer is a lonely experience and one of the most positive things anyone can do for a person in that situation is to 'accompany' them. Guardian angels, the two who stood by me (tall, and I am tall) offering their presence, with the lack of eye contact making it a very pure experience.

The sound, the movement, the conversations and the offered glimpses of significance in the spoken 'gifts', my thanks for such an uplifting experience.