Brook Andrew, Christian Nyampeta, The Otolith Group, Deborah Rundle, Sriwhana Spong

Chris Braddock with dialogue group, Sam Hamilton, Hetain Patel, Pallavi Paul, Bridget Reweti

Qiane Matata-Sipu, Kalisolaite 'Uhila, Poata Alvie McKree, Sister Library with Samoa House Library, James Tapsell-Kururangi

For his 1976–77 lecture course How to Live Together, Roland Barthes borrows a concept from monastic traditions to study forms of communal life. The word idiorrhythmy, which is composed of idios and rhuthmos, ‘one’s own rhythm’, refers to the lifestyles of monastics who live alone but are dependent on a monastery; it is a type of sociability that respects differing rhythms, temperaments and needs. In his course, Barthes opens idiorrhythmy outward from the field of religion to other everyday spaces that “attempt to reconcile collective life with individual life, the independence of the subject with the sociability of the group,”[1] community and solitude.

As part of this year’s programming shift at St Paul St Gallery, this is the invitation to artists and others: For the duration of Semester Two at Auckland University of Technology, let us inhabit How to Live Together as an ongoing enquiry, and this exhibition as a scene or a course guided by the coupled question: What is the intimacy we must develop to create a community? What is the distance we must maintain to retain our solitude?

Here, idiorrhythmy also names the curatorial methodology; it is an experiment in reconciling the differing speeds and slownesses of each project within the format of an exhibition. The exhibition is not defined and contained a priori, but by way of artwork coming and going, with moving parts within the whole, idiorrhythmy allows an exhibition-project or enquiry to unfold progressively, “to weave along horizontally, from one case to the next, via bridges and bifurcations, each case eventually leading to the next and merging into it.”[2] Not everything may be visible or unequivocal at various stages, but by the end, an experience will have been lived through, a landscape sketched in, an approach figured for a life together.

[1] Claude Coste, preface to How to Live Together: Novelistic simulations of some everyday spaces, notes for a lecture course and seminar at the Collège de France (1976–77) by Roland Barthes, translated by Kate Briggs (New York: Columbia University Press, 2013), xxii.

[2] François Jullien, 'The Propensity of Things: Toward a History of Efficacy in China', translated by Janet Lloyd (New York: Zone Books, 1999), 124.


  • Thu 11 Jul


  • 5:30 pm

ST PAUL St Galleries One and Two, Front Box, Samoa House Library, the residence of Helen Jean Linton in Rotorua, and other offsite locations.

  • 40 St Paul Street
  • Auckland CBD