These Conversations

Hello, if you’ve found this web page, it’s probably because you were on the balcony of the Tate Modern, wondering what the person with the “research recording in progress” sign was doing. I’m Saul. That was me on the balcony. I’ll explain.

You may have been recorded as part of my PhD research, now completed, in the Cognitive Science group at Queen Mary University of London. My project studied the things people talk about and the way they talk about them when they are standing on the balcony of the Tate Modern, overlooking Tino Sehgal’s 2012 piece These Associations. I recorded Tino Sehgal giving a talk about this work in case you never found out what it was, and were still curious.

My research involved recording people’s everyday conversations as they crowd around the balcony rail – where many people are already taking recordings of the piece and each other with their mobile phones and cameras. Possibly for this reason – that there’s no reasonable expectation of privacy there – I was given permission from the artist, and from the show’s producers to do this work, and also from the ethics committee of Queen Mary University. The considerations and issues involved are outlined in this ethics approval document.

All the recordings and the transcripts of these conversations are available online as a publicly licensed repository for future research. You can also read about the PhD thesis I wrote ‘Respecifying aesthetics: accounting for taste in everyday talk‘ and what I made of all these conversations.

If you have any questions, or just want to talk about the project please feel free to contact me:

  • Mr Saul Albert, School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science, Queen Mary University of London, London, E1 4NS.
  • tel: 07941255210 / 02071007915



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