How to Live Together?

An artist project with Camille Henrot revisiting Roland Barthes' seminal lectures on coexistence


Fields of Knowledge
  • Aesthetics / Media
  • Pedagogy
  • Philosophy / Theory

Organizing Institutions


Contributing Institutions

The Department of English and the School of Arts and Sciences, University of Pennsylvania


Jean-Michel Rabaté, Aaron Levy


Rachel Heidenry


Gallery Kamel Mennour, Paris

Process initiated


Opens to public



4017 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Slought is pleased to announce "How to Live Together?" an installation and event series with French artist Camille Henrot in the Slought galleries beginning January 12 and continuing through May 4, 2013. An opening reception will take place on Saturday, January 26, 2013 from 6:30-8:30pm. "How to Live Together?" is presented in partnership with the Department of English and the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania.

Conceptually, the installation is structured around a series of Saturday afternoon reading sessions, which correspond to the original dates of Roland Barthes' seminal lectures Comment vivre ensemble (How to Live Together), first delivered thirty-six years ago at the Collége de France in 1977. Recently translated into English and published by Columbia University Press, How to Live Together explores solitude and the degree of contact necessary for individuals to exist and create at their own pace, addressing a variety of topics ranging from animals, the bed and food, to bureaucracy, marginalities, and utopia.

Henrot's project, "How to Live Together?", does not sculpturally respond to Barthes but rather is a re-presentation of Barthes, one that enables the visitor to re-consider his central question: how to live together? The project takes the form of a comfortable and intimate environment for the sharing and translating of language on both a local and a global scale. The installation at Slought will also feature a series of projected films by Henrot including Coupé/Decalé (2011), Million Dollar Point (2011), The Strife of Love in a Dream (2011), and Wolf Eyes (2008).

The following reading sessions will be held:

— Session 1 of January 12, 1977/2013: Introduction, Method, Culture
— Session 2 of January 19, 1977/2013: Introduction, Akedia
— Session 3 of January 26, 1977/2013: Anachoresis, Animals, Athos
— Session 4 of February 2, 1977/2013: Athos, Autarky, School, Beguinages
— Session 5 of February 9, 1977/2013: Bureaucracy, Cause, Room
— Session 6 of February 16, 1977/2013: Room, Chief
— Session 7 of March 2, 1977/2013: Enclosure, Colony of Anachorites
— Session 8 of March 9, 1977/2013: Pairing, Distance, Servants
— Session 9 of March 16, 1977/2013: Hearing, Sponge, Event, Flowers, Idyll
— Session 10 of March 23, 1977/2013: Marginalities, Monosis, Names
— Session 11 of March 30, 1977/2013: Names, Food
— Session 12 of April 20, 1977/2013: Proxemics, Rectangle, Rule
— Session 13 of April 27, 1977/2013: Dirtiness, Xenitia
— Session 14 of May 4, 1977/2013: Utopia, But what about method?

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Best-known for her videos and animated films combining drawn art, music and occasionally scratched or reworked cinematic images, artist Camille Henrot's work blurs the traditionally hierarchical categories of art history. Her recent work, adapted into the diverse media of sculpture, drawing, photography and, as always, film, considers the fascination with the "other" and "elsewhere" in terms of both geography and sexuality.

Henrot's work has been exhibited in France at the Centre Pompidou, the Paris Museum of Modern Art, the Palais de Tokyo, the Espace Paul Ricard, the Jeu de Paume, the Cartier Foundation, the Louis Vuitton Cultural Space, the Foundation Maeght, the collections of Saint-Cyprien, the Museum of Fine Arts of Bordeaux, Crac Alsace, and abroad at Sungkok Art Museum in Seoul, the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, the Center for Contemporary Images in Geneva, the Hara Museum in Tokyo and Oi Futuro Cultural Center in Rio de Janeiro.

In conjunction with the opening, a public conversation will take place on Saturday, January 26th from 7-8pm, featuring the artist in conversation with Emily Apter of New York University and Jean-Michel Rabaté, Senior Curator for Discursive Projects at Slought. The conversation will be informed by a series of guiding points and topics that Henrot has been thinking about and sketching out in relation to the project.

These include Barthes's relation to his native language, Barthes's sensual and physical relationship with text, translation as a second hand or voice that continues with its own life, and how translation is a particularly resonant topic in the contemporary global context. Other topics include the possibility of a global or international language, the destiny of vanishing languages, what it means to think in an imperfect language, what cannot be translated, and tongues, sensuality, and misunderstanding.