This situation is akin to a contemporary salon. Drawing from quotations selected by Sehgal from 500 years of thought, players discuss among themselves and with the visitors such issues as the aesthetics of existence and the implications of moving from a society of lack to one of abundance. Since its New York premier at the Marian Goodman Gallery in 2007, This situation has been produced in galleries and museums around the world. Its week at Princeton will be the first time that it has taken place in an academic setting, and this new setting will test the relationship between the discourses of the university, and the emergent conversations that are the substance of Sehgal’s work. The week will also include a symposium that will gather visiting scholars and critics, together with some of the interpreters in the piece, to reflect with Asad Raza—Sehgal’s collaborator, who will be installing the piece at Princeton—on what it means to locate the conversation of This situation in the heart of a university. All are invited, and particularly encouraged to visit This situation on one of the previous afternoons.
Tino Sehgal, who was born in Britain in 1976 and lives in Berlin, creates what he calls “constructed situations,” choreographed gestures and spoken instructions that are acted out by “players” and “interpreters” in museum and gallery contexts. Explicitly not performances, they are ordinarily on view continuously during a museum’s opening hours over a period of at least six weeks. The conceptual nature of his practice grows out of an investigation into what constitutes a work of art and a crystallization of the art experience, which for Sehgal entails a direct engagement, in the here and now, between visitors and players in carefully choreographed situations. The visitor is conceived as a fundamental part of the work and may, if he/ she chooses to participate, dramatically alter its unfolding.