Here: Unilever Series and Tino Sehgal’s human cloud in Tate Modern

I am talking to a stranger; she tells me about the cities she nested in, the different houses she stayed in, different people she lived with. She asks me ‘where do I belong?’. Here.

Moments before, I was watching a group of people walking backwards towards the exit. They stopped, started chanting, and the lights on the ceiling followed their rhythm. Then the started running in circles, trying to find an invisible end goal. Here.

I took my coat off, put in on the floor and sat down for a second. I looked at them, I looked at how people reacted to them. The group is wearing normal clothes, and apart from one common characteristic, their worn-out trainers, they could not easily be singled out as part of the collective. You see, I am standing in the middle of the Turbine Hall in Tate Modern, observing Tino Sehgal‘s Unilever Series commission.

Unlike Tacita Dean’s analogue marvel, this piece is the first live work to take over the space, with a human cloud of participants whose movements, sounds, and conversations are the choreographed building blocks of the overall piece.

The work is constructed by the physical and vocal energy of the participants and visitors, and the invisible moments that bind them. The public is fearful, delighted, inquisitive, eager to participate, willing to create obstacles, move together, move away, stand still.
It is interesting to see their reactions, their distanced curiosity, the glances they throw at the group, making sure they don’t get caught looking.

However, it is also interesting to explore the feeling of absolute calmness when you give in to the whole process, when you stop resisting, and sit down, and watch; when you don’t flinch once someone comes to talk to you; once you don’t deal with the experience as a novelty act, but as just an experience that does not have to be defined.

Life does not have to be defined. Some times, it is enough to sit; not to participate, not to shun away. Just sit, and be. Here.

Love,

G

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