How to Work Together

A conversation about queer sociality and collaboration and intimacy as performance


Fields of Knowledge
  • Aesthetics / Media
  • Performance

Organizing Institutions

Slought, Department of English at the University of Pennsylvania


Heather Love


School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania

Opens to public





4017 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104


50% Formal - 50% Informal

Slought is pleased to announce "How to Work Together: Collaboration and Intimacy as Performance," a public conversation with Susanne Sachsse, Marc Siegel and Heather Love, on Tuesday, February 26, 2013 from 6-7:30pm.

This conversation takes the recent publication of Roland Barthes's How to Live Together: Novelistic Simulations of Some Everyday Spaces as the occasion to discuss questions of intimacy, performance, and collaboration. The conversation will focus on the experiments in collaboration of Susanne Sachsse and Marc Siegel, co-founders of the Berlin art collective CHEAP, which they started in 2001. Over the years, Sachsse and Siegel have collaborated with a number of artists, musicians, filmmakers, scholars, and performers, including Vaginal Davis, Bruce LaBruce, Ronald Tavel and Mario Montez.

The event will begin with a brief screening of excerpts from Siegel and Sachsse's work with CHEAP, including their staging of Ronald Tavel's The Life of Juanita Castro (1965). Tavel wrote Juanita Castro as a screenplay for Warhol's film, but later adapted it for stage performances. Sachsse and Siegel will screen some excerpts from the version that they worked on in Berlin in 2001 with Tavel as on-stage director (in a production that also featured Vaginal Davis as Juanita Castro and Sachsse as Fidel). CHEAP staged the play again in 2009, casting Mario Montez — for whom the central role had originally been written, but who had never performed it—along with Tony Conrad, Bibbe Hansen, Bruce LaBruce, Hans Scheirl, Ulrike Ottinger and many others. These restagings show Sachsse and Siegel's collaboration with figures from queer underground art worlds across time, and their attention to sociality, embodiment, and reception across time.

In How To Live Together Barthes describes "his utopia" as a "community where each subject lives according to his own rhythm." Taking Barthes's interest in rhythm—particularly in relation to questions of closeness and distance, togetherness and solitude—as a starting point, and with reference to recent work on queer sociality, Sachsse, Siegel, and Love will discuss collaboration as a theoretical and a practical matter. Intimacy is, among other things, a kind of performance or choreography, reliant on movement, spacing, rhythm, scripts, and rhetoric. Reflecting on Sachsse and Siegel's history of collaboration, this conversation will address the relation between performance and other forms of world-making.

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Susanne Sachsse is a Berlin-based actress and director. She has extensive theater experience and was a member of the Berliner Ensemble where she worked with, among others, Heiner Müller, Einar Schleef and Robert Wilson. In 2001, Sachsse co-founded the art collective CHEAP, with whom she has developed performances, installations and club projects. She has worked consistently in theater and film with, among others, the Canadian filmmaker Bruce LaBruce. She has also collaborated on installations and performances with the artists Yael Bartana, Phil Collins, Keren Cytter, and Katya Sander.

Marc Siegel is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Theater, Film and Media Studies at the Goethe University in Frankfurt. He is currently completing a book manuscript that theorizes the role of gossip in queer film culture and is editing a special issue of the journal Criticism on the work of Jack Smith. His curatorial projects include numerous film series, as well as the festivals "Camp/Anti-Camp: A Queer Guide to Everyday Life (Berlin/Frankfurt, 2012, co-curated with Susanne Sachsse), "LIVE FILM! JACK SMITH! Five Flaming Days in a Rented World" (Berlin, 2009, with Susanne Sachsse and Stefanie Schulte Strathaus) and the exhibition "George Kuchar" (Berlin Biennial, 2010). He is a co-founder of the Berlin-based art collective CHEAP.

Heather Love is the R. Jean Brownlee Term Associate Professor in English at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of Feeling Backward: Loss and the Politics of Queer History (Harvard, 2007), the co-editor of a special issue of New Literary History ("Is There Life after Identity Politics?") and the editor of a special issue of GLQ on the scholarship and legacy of Gayle Rubin ("Rethinking Sex"). Her areas of interest include gender studies and queer theory, the literature and culture of modernity, affect studies, film and visual culture, psychoanalysis, disability studies, sociology and literature, and critical theory.