W is a research collective that studies action in a performance setting. What does it mean to act as others watch? What characterizes the relation we call theater?
To answer these questions, W simultaneously develops three complementary approaches: a practice, which builds tools and techniques for the actor; a critical method, which suggests reception guidelines for the spectator; and a theory, which works towards defining notions useful to the first two approaches.
In particular, W produces games, a score writing software, a lexicon of operational notions, workshops and practical sessions, critical seminars, as well as articles and conferences.
W-critique attempts to built and experiment tools for the reception of performances.
It draws on two basic principles : first, to give back to the spectator the task of producing meaning based on what he observes; second, to try and multiply the possible meanings of a performance rather than decyphering a pre-existing content.
The W-critique relies on the W-lexicon, a set of operative notions that attempt to name the different aspects of the reception process of a performance.
The W-critique is implemented within the W-protocoles, real-time observation and interpretation devices for performances.
These protocols, in which the activity of the spectator is formalized so it can become a specific object of study, are developed, tested, and put in practice during the W-critical seminars.
The W-critical seminars involve several real-time observation and interpretation protocols of the performance (theatre, dance, opera but also math classes, court hearings, political speeches, religious rites...)
These collective protocols, which are simple but detailed, allow us to observe how meaning is constructed during reception : First, by literally describing what we see, second, by composing meanings that are more and more extensive in order to reach interpretations that are as large as they are complex.
In addition, W has organized several research seminars : in 2005-2006, at the University of Paris 3 in collaboration with the Théâtre de la Colline; in 2007-2008, at the Laboratoires d'Aubervilliers, in partnership with the Dance Department of the University of Paris 8 and the Master Degree in stage direction of the the University of Paris 10 ; and in 2008-2009 in partnership with the review Art21.