top of page



Utopie/Utopia (2020) trailer
Play Video

The full short film is available to view upon request at

by Anne Katrine Senstad 
with actor Bill Sage, and 
audio management by JG Thirlwell

In exploring the nuances of idiorrhythmic living formats, Senstad invites acclaimed actor Bill Sage to reinterpret Roland Barthes pedagogical methods and critical worldview from five decades ago in the context of our contemporary experience in a changing world.

Produced during the 2020 pandemic, the performative reading in film format was achieved by remote collaborations between artist Anne Katrine Senstad, actor Bill Sage, and composer/sound producer JG Thirlwell who was responsible for enhancing the listening experience.

By jointly reshaping and exploring new systems for expression and cultural production, the artists simultaneously respond to the current human experience of isolation, societal and political deconstruction through the absorption of Barthes' structural novelistic lectures and internal dialogue on idiorrhythmic living, and ways of understanding community and individuality, spaces, and rhythms of life for our possible futures. 


In his chapter on a utopia of idiorrhythmic Living-Together, Barthes considers our “Sovereign Good” a form of tactful cohabitation and an inner state - the state of tolerance is considered a place of utopia. Sage creates a rich texture of spirit and authenticity, embodying the internal conversation and experience of the human enterprise transmitted through the character he created for the piece - a navigational journey through a meditative analysis as understanding our sense of place. 


The title of Senstad's exhibition, How We Live Together determines an action in how we want to shape our common future. Senstad reauthors Barthes 1977 university lectures titled How To Live Together, which present a passive set of contemplative possibilities organized after literary and fantasmatic methods - the academic observational criteria. In activating the title through an actor’s voice and delivery, Sage transmits the experience and embodiment of our inner dialogue and relation to the self. In the postmodern society that evolved after Barthes social philosophies, the disenfranchisement of societal and spiritual value has escalated to the critical crescendo we are now living with, globally manifested in illness of the human soul and body, isolation, displacement and quarantined living.

Another French philosopher, Baurdillard spoke about a societal simulacra and the postmodern living mode that removed the individual from any form of natural self and common value system. With popular culture amplifying this loss of human spirit, Baurdillard examined how the film American Psycho is the epitome of the postmodern human. In the iconic business card scene, an assembly of Wall Street men including Bill Sage's character identify their sole value represented in a symbol of patriarchy, capitalism, spectacle and expendable identities.

[Text: Excerpt from book How To Live Together
by Roland Barthes, Session of May 4, 1977 - Utopie/Utopia, pages 130-132 ]

This presentation of UTOPIE/UTOPIA has been created in collaboration with Yi Gallery New York City. It premiered during Senstad's solo exhibition How We Live Together at Yi Gallery, July 17 August 15, 2020. The forthcoming series of collaborative short films with Bill Sage and JG Thirlwell are a continuation of the How We Live Together philosophical examinations on our place in contemporary history, and part of Senstad's ongoing critical research project Capitalism in the Public Realm.



Photo by Stefano Giovannini

The practice of Norwegian artist Anne Katrine Senstad lies in the intersections of architectural installation art, photography, video art, neon sculpture and site specificity within the language of chromatic minimalism and light environments. Her practice has for over several decades been focused on the phenomenology of perception of light, sound and color, with an anchor in the knowledge of color theory, optics and the psychology of space.


In her text works Senstad addresses human nature and philosophy through text installation statements and word play, utilizing commercial signage and neon. Senstad’s practice on socially engaged field projects and land art works, includes cultural, social and political interactions, performative interventions and feminist collaborations to create wider educational and cultural platforms between diverse ideologies. Through this, Senstad seeks to develop the possibility for what she sees as a new folklore and an amalgamation between post-modern individualism and internationalism.

She has exhibited widely internationally in galleries, museums and institutions; 55th and 56th Venice Biennale (Italy), Bruges Art and Architecture Triennale (Belgium), Kai Art Center (Estonia), He Xiangning Art Museum (China), Trafo Kunsthall (Norway), Octavia Art Gallery (New Orleans + Houston), Zendai Moma (China).

Senstad is the recipient of artist residencies at Marblehouse Projects, Vermont and Abu Dhabi Arthub (UAE), Public Art Commissions include Ohio State Percent for Art Program with Snøhetta Architects for the Wolfe Center for the Arts at BGSU. She has participated in numerous new media, film and light art festivals including ISEA Dubai 2014 (UAE), Rencontres Internationales Paris- Berlin (FR),and Dallas Aurora (USA)

Anne Katrine Senstad was raised in Singapore and Norway, today she lives and works between New York and Oslo, Norway. She received her art education at Parsons School of Design and The New School for Social Research in New York 1994 and 1999, and Berkeley University, CA in 1989.


BILL SAGE has appeared in over 120 films, theatre and TV productions. Selected films include American Psycho, Boiler Room, Mysterious Skin, We Are What We Are, and numerous films with long time collaborator, film director Hal Hartley including the upcoming film Where to Land. TV series include Law & Order, Boardwalk Empire, Numb3rs, CSI, Hap & Leonard, Nurse Jackie, Orange is the New Black. Throughout his career, Mr. Sage has been a champion for diversity and equality in the film industry. He has made a point of working with female Directors, Writers and Producers such as Mary Harron, Lisa Cholodenko, Mira Nair, and Amy Berg to name a few. Mr. Sage is a graduate of SUNY Purchase and a proud member of the Purchase Mafia. He continues to be a driving force in the world of film and high end television.  IMDB page


JG THIRLWELL is a composer/producer/performer based in Brooklyn, NY. He has released over thirty albums and creates the musical score for the Emmy-winning FX show Archer, and Adult Swim / Cartoon Network show The Venture Bros. JG has also created several motion picture scores.


All rights are reserved. No part of this recording may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior permission of Bill Sage and Anne Katrine Senstad Studio.   

©Bill Sage 

©Anne Katrine Senstad Studio  

©Yi Gallery

How to live together: novelistic simulations of some everyday spaces, Roland Barthes.

©2002 Editions du Seuil, English Translation 

©2013 Columbia University Press 

bottom of page