HOW WE LIVE TOGETHER
An Exclusive Online Screening was presented October 31-November 15, 2021 at StreamingMuseum.org. Below are excerpts from each of the 4 short films by Anne Katrine Senstad, that were created during the pandemic in collaboration with acclaimed American actor Bill Sage and audio produced by JG Thirlwell. Stay tuned for future screenings!
Sage's captivating monologue performances look to ways of understanding community and individuality, isolation and space, rhythms of life and the human condition, questioning where we are going and how we want to shape our common future. Senstad invites contemporary viewers into these questions, just as Roland Barthes had in his original 1977 critical worldview lectures on which the films are based.
The state of tolerance is a place of utopia. Anne Katrine Senstad’s film explores the nuances of French philosopher Roland Barthes’ (1915-1980) term “idiorrhythmy”—a productive form of living together in which one is autonomous yet recognizes and respects the individual rhythms of others.
In Senstad's first film in the series of four, exploring Barthes text UTOPIE/UTOPIA from his 1977 book How To Live Together, acclaimed actor Bill Sage, in a personal and evocative monologue performance, assumes the character of Barthes in the creative process
of preparation for his University lecture series of four decades ago. Set in the context of our contemporary world that is gripped by societal and political crises amplified by the 2020 pandemic, Sage’s character explores various forms of solitude through Barthes’ contemplations on history, psychology and societal structures. Barthes’ text concludes that our “Sovereign Good” is a form of tactful cohabitation and that an inner state—the state of tolerance—is a place of utopia.
In critical view of the human condition in current world affairs, Senstad suggests that a healthy value system has been disenfranchised and replaced by what the French philosopher Jean Baudrillard (1929-2008) called a simulacra—a post-modern imitation of reality, consumerism, and predatory systems. Senstad and Sage express these theories in the films which were produced remotely, along with the acclaimed sound production work of JG Thirwell, within the confines of isolation during the pandemic.
A version of this article entitled "UTOPIE/UTOPIA" appears in the special UN 75th anniversary issue of the publication CENTERPOINT NOW, “Are we there yet?” Copyright 2020, World Council of Peoples for the United Nations.
UTOPIE/UTOPIA (2020), 10:26 min (excerpt)
Barthes theorizes that tolerant co-habitation is a place of utopia, and reflects on ways of understanding community and individuality, societal and political systems, and solitude and the degree of contact necessary for individuals to exist and create at their own pace.