New Tate Modern installation aims to bring you to tears

Tate Modern has unveiled its latest Turbine Hall installation – featuring an “unsettling energy” and a tear-inducing organic compound.

The huge space has been home to more than 100 million “sunflower seeds”, spiralling slides and a dazzling sun over the years.

Cuban artist and activist Tania Bruguera created the new work in response to the migration crisis.

Tania Bruguera, centre, and guests stand after lying on her artwork, a heat sensitive floor, in the Turbine Hall
Tania Bruguera, centre, and guests stand after lying on her artwork, a heat-sensitive floor, in the Turbine Hall (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

A series of “stealth interventions”, it focuses on the “status of the neighbour and what it means to act and interact locally”.

In the Turbine Hall, a “low-frequency sound… charges the space with an unsettling energy and a sense that something is changing”.

In an adjoining room, a contained organic compound is released into the space to induce tears and provoke “forced empathy”.

The cavernous Turbine Hall itself is covered in what appears to be a plain black floor.

Guests get up after lying on Tania Bruguera’s artwork
Guests get up after lying on Tania Bruguera’s artwork (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Hidden beneath the floor is a huge image of the face of a young man who left Syria in 2011 and was helped by a local charity.

Visitors can attempt to reveal the giant portrait through “collective action with their immediate neighbours in the hall, touching the heat-sensitive material on the floor to expose the image beneath”.

The image can only be read from a distance despite those within touching distance having to make it visible.

The Hyundai Commission opens at Tate Modern on Tuesday and runs until February 24 2019.

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