TWO-WAY ENTERTAINMENTS

~ Posted by Robert Butler, July 25th 2012

The one thing you don't want when you're doing the quick crossword on the Tube home is a dud clue. On Monday the London Evening Standard's clue for 19 across was "Entertained (7)". Simple enough, you might think: "amused" is too short and "delighted" too long: it would probably be "gripped". Except it wasn't "gripped" or "engaged" or even "charmed". It wasn't any word that came to mind on the 30-minute journey.

Tuesday's edition of the Standard gave the answer to 19 across as "regaled". They had to be kidding. These days no one who has been regaled feels they have been entertained. But look "regale" up in the dictionary and you see that's just what it means. Or did. There should be a bit in italics next to the entry saying "old usage". We expect our latest entertainment—from the video game "Mass Effect 3" to the theatre piece "You Me Bum Bum Train"—to be immersive and interactive.

Which is why Tino Seghal's "These Associations", which opened yesterday at the Tate Modern's Turbine Hall, has drawn five-star reviews. Seghal has filled the vast indoor space of the Turbine Hall with 50 or 60 figures for a "constructed situation". The figures walk, run and sprint; and they also come up to visitors and share parts of stories, fleeting intimacies, which may or may not be true. The spectators become participants and the boundaries between what is art and what isn't dissolves. It reminded the Independent's art critic that "the electricity that crackles between people is the most powerful energy of all."

Tino Seghal is clearly not one of life's regalers. He told BBC Radio 4,

"I'm interested in people having their own experience and not someone telling them what it is...I'm more interested in your associations. I think they're more valid than my intentions."

 Robert Butler is online editor of Intelligent Life