Utopie/Utopia - Reading Performance by Bill Sage

The live event will stream directly on this page on Friday, July 31 at 6pm EST. 

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  • Reading Performance by Bill Sage

    Recording release date: Friday, July 31st, 6pm EST

    This event is organized by artist Anne Katrine Senstad, in conjunction with her solo exhibition How We Live Together at Yi Gallery, on view July 17 - August 15, 2020. The exhibition examines the value systems and ethics that define citizenry and our common history, as well as speculates on how future generations will work together to shape our common destiny. Senstad uses text, installation and color interactions to cast light on the resurgent tribalism of our times


    Length: 10.27 min.
    Format: 1920x1080 SD
    Sound: Stereo
    Creator: Anne Katrine Senstad
    Actor: Bill Sage
    Sound: 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. 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 emplifying 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  
    Page 130-132 


    Bill Sage

    Bill Sage has appeared in over 40 films, stage and TV productions. In American Psycho he played the character Davin van Patten in the infamous card scene, other films include Boiler Room, I Shot Andy WarholThe Insider and TV series include Law & OrderBoardwalk Empire and numerous other shows.



    Anne Katrine Senstad

    Anne Katrine Senstad is an interdisciplinary Norwegian artist whose practice lies in the intersections of light sculpture, installation, immersive environments, photography, video, land and site-specific art. Senstad was raised in Singapore and Norway, today she lives and works between New York and Oslo. Having studied video art at the University of California at Berkeley and earned her BFA Honors in Photography from the Parsons School of Design, she went on to study film at the New School for Social Research in New York. Notable exhibitions include Radical Light (2020) at Kai Art Center in Tallinn, Estonia, a monumental light environment accompanied by JG Thirlwell’s sound composition; Seen Unseen (2018) at He Xiangning Art Museum in Shenzhen, China with an immersive light sculpture and color environment ELEMENTS II (2018); light art survey Through The Spectrum at Athr Gallery alongside James Turrell, Robert Irwin, Carlos Cruz Diez and Leo Villareal with ELEMENTS I (2018); the 55th (2013) and 56th (2015) Venice Biennales and Bruges Art and Architecture Triennale (2015).  Her video work has been shown worldwide at Centre Pompidou, Haus Der Kultur Der Welt, Beirut Art Center, The Canadian Museum of Nature, Museum of Modern Art Ukraine, Dallas Aurora, Eva Peron Museum, Oslo Screen Festival and K4 Gallery.


    Senstad Artist Profile on Yi Gallery


    JG Thirlwell

    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 

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