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(How We Live Together) 2020-21


Excerpt from How To Live Together - Novelistic Simulations of Some Everyday Spaces by French philosopher Roland Barthes.

Session of April 27, 1977. Pages 124-129.

17.39 min

HD Single Channel Video

Audio Management JG Thirlwell

Link to teaser 1

Link to teaser 2

XÉNITEIA/XENITEIA is the fourth and last of Senstad's short film series How We Live Together created during the pandemic of 2020-21 in collaboration with acclaimed actor Bill Sage and compoiser and producer JG Thirlwell on audio treatment. Each chapter is a performative reading - a cinematic internal monologue extracted from French philosopher Roland Barthes 1977 university lecture series How To Live Together. In this chapter on the history of monks and states of iisolation as forms of exile,- the societal conditions for tolerance through ideorrythmic living formats, distanced space and notions of oppression, are a vehicle to an analytical overview of the present day human conditions of our tranformational era of entropy, chaos, greed and mortality.

Barthes contemplates states of living with isolation as one of freedom from the oppression of the Other, freedom from authorotarian mechanisms of the societal machine, while simulateneously in the proposed utopic and tolerantly distanced living format, he sees the withdrawn condition of inner exile, as one of an internal experience of struggle and deep sadness for humanity desiring to confront our existence in togetherness as a unity or community. Being amongst strangers is inevitable, neccessary even, except when night falls.

Through Sage's poetic narration and warmth we can absorb the essence of Barthes humanistic, lyrical and existential vision, as if in the theatrical setting or at a live performance. The film series How We Live Together unfolds the nurturing elements of philospphy as a pure existential state through the critical eye and visual poetry of the internal voice of Barthes philosophical language. Barthes draws lines through the history of religious monastic systems, anthorpology and spirituality, conditions for societal power and oppression in relation to the autonomous space in order to discuss the agency of the human experience.

The series of films are between 10-17 minutes long and present vignettes of stream of consciousness imagery inspired by Barthes text material Sage and Senstaembark on reinterpeting, with contemplative scenes on societal transformation, archival and documentary street footage, as witnesses to life during the pandemic in New York, one of the hardest hit cities in the world in the spring of 2020.


The first film, Utopie / Utopia was part of Senstad's solo exhibition How We Live Together at Yi Gallery in New York, July - Sept 2020 and the group exhibiton Art's New Natures - Digital Dynamics in Nordic Art on Streamingmuseum.org fall Aug - Nov 2020. Short film no. 2, MÔNOSIS / MONOSIS was screened online as part of Streaming Museum's summer group exhibition 2021.

Webpage for the HOW WE LIVE TOGETHER Film series here




Supported by Norske Billedkunstnere, Norway


Bill Sage has appeared in over 120 films. TV and stage productions. Films include American Psycho, Boiler Room, I Shot Andy Warhol, The Insider, Boardwalk Empire and numerous Hal Hartlet films who is a long time collaborator of Sage.

IMBD link

JG Thirlwell is a performer, composer and producer based in Brooklyn, NY. He has released over 30 albums and creates the score for the Emmy award winning FX show Archer, and Adult Swim/Cartoon Network show The Venture Bros. www.foetus.org


©annekatrinesenstad 2020