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 to define notions useful to the first two approaches.

In particular, W produces games, a lexicon of operational notions, a critical seminar, a theoretical apparatus, articles, conferences, research sessions, as well as school visits.

W-Critique designs and tests tools for receiving performances.
It draws on two basic principles: first, to give the spectator back the task of producing meaning based on what he observes; second, to multiply the possible meanings of a performance rather than trying to decode pre-existing content.

These principles are explained in the W-lexicon, a set of operational notions that deals with naming the different aspects of a process of reception.

They are implimented within different protocols for observing and interpreting representations in realtime (plays, dance, or opera, but also math classes, court hearings, political discourse, or religious rites). The collective protocols, which are simple but detailed, allow us to observe how meaning is constructed at reception. First, by literally describing what we see, second, by composing more and more exhaustive meanings that finally lead to interpretations that are as large as they are complex.

These protocols, in which the activity of the spectator is formalized so it can become a specific object of study, are developed, tested, and implimented during the W Critical Seminar. The content drawn from these protocols can finally give rise to critical articles that are often written collectively.