What do we do when we are not doing?


What do we do when we are not doing?

My grandmother tells me that her father used to sit under the cherry tree every afternoon (at least that’s how the intergenerational narrative goes) and not do anything for some time. Even though I never got to meet my great-grandfather, the image is painted clearly in my head and connoted with a certain idealising admiration.

This might be because on the continuum between ‘being’ and ‘doing’, I see myself as a ‘do-er’. It is also not by chance that I find myself in a performance company named ‘The Doing Group’. I gain a lot of my self-definition, daily structure and happiness from doing. So when forced to not do, for instance during the lock-down, I first start with working through what I thought were endless lists of things that I meant to do for a long time, like my tax returns – a coping mechanism to help myself avoid the  reality of not doing. The list did eventually get shorter and still the lock-down persisted. As a group, we started to consciously turn our attention to ‘not doing’ in what we have called  an online residency. Even though I felt fuelled by the idealised image of my great-grandfather under the cherry tree, the reality of attempting to relax into ‘not doing’ was anything but easy. Being deprived of a large (possibly too large) part of my personality as ‘theatre-maker’ and at the same time left with huge uncertainty about when or if at all this practice of live performance in a shared space and time will be possible again, I was stuck in a roller-coaster of emotions, feeling fatigue, denial, anger, bargaining, sadness and depression.  I found these cycles of grieving aptly reflected in Lou Platt’s artist wellbeing blog, applying Kubler-Ross & Kessler’s book On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss onto grief within the arts during the pandemic. Lou Platt attests that as artists who are not able to follow their work, we are moving through five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I saw my situation in response to half a year of intricately  planned work projects being cancelled within 24 hours reflected in her reflections. However, I am still waiting for her last blog post of this series to come out, explaining ‘acceptance’ as the possibility of moving through grief.

The day before the dress rehearsal of my experimental sound-theatre performance ‘How Deep Is The Sea’ in Innsbruck, we decided to cancel our premiere. At the time, the risk of spreading COVID-19 was still an unknown factor,  whose possible severity we only realised in the preceding 24 hours. We still finished the lighting and last technical tweaks of the show and went ahead with a dress rehearsal for archival video recording, already knowing that it will not be premiered. It was a bizarre feeling, not to have the moment of relief when sharing the results of many months of intense work with an audience. This gave me a different perspective on the ‘normal’ production realities within performing arts where in the weeks leading up to the premiere nothing seems more important than the show and the pressure increases day by day. The stress levels are high and our bodies are exploited through sleep deprivation and long non-stop working days. But where does this pressure even come from?


When we took everything down a day before the cancelled premiere and start of the strict lock-down, surprisingly, I did not feel disappointed in any way. At first there was a bit of uncertainty and disorientation as the usual pattern of rehearsing to perform was broken and the moment of release was missing. Why do we depend on audiences to applaud, critics to review and work to ‘land’? For myself, I figured that there was a need of external approval, but what for? So, I started to personally appraise my own work more deeply. When I was not able to perform for an audience, I reflected and felt through the work myself. I took the time to reflect and listen. I was surprised to start hearing the quieter voices that are usually drowned in all the noise of perpetual doing.

In her blog posts, Lou Platt also suggests that there is a grammatical imbalance between ‘being’ and ‘doing’ since there is no equivalent of the active subject ‘do-er’ – a ‘be-er’? Was my great-grandfather under the cherry tree a ‘be-er’? Other anecdotes of him with his horse and cart, in his workshop or on camping trips paint a different image of him, also as a doer. I gain hope and I ask myself how can I become a be-er or how can I work on the be-er in me? Quickly I realise that the question underlying this is: how do you do ‘being’? – in other words: What do you do when you just want to ‘be’? I must laugh since the doer in me already hijacked the ‘not-doing-just-being’ project again. I smile at myself and allow this to happen. I ask my grandmother what her father used to do when he was not doing anything under the cherry tree? She does not take this as a weird question and responds: ‘Every afternoon he was sitting under the cherry tree, listening to the birds, thinking, whistling and sometimes snoozing with his straw hat pulled down over his face.’ Hence, I am gentle with myself and observe what I do when I try to ‘not do’: sleeping, sitting, breathing, thinking, go for walks or just walk around aimlessly, watch birds, listen to the birds and imitate their calls, chat to neighbours who I have not spoken to in many years in the street (of course with 2m distance). Simply, I take time for what comes up, acknowledge and take care of my surroundings.

In our ‘not doing’ online residency as The Doing Group, we take time to ask ourselves as individuals and artists but also as a company and a group of friends, what we do when we are ‘not doing’. In different formats we have been reflecting, talking, thinking. We asked ourselves what the research question of our first performance ‘Rain is Liquid Sunshine’, what futures can be imagined once the idea of progress is drained away, might mean nowadays, how we can think without questions, how we can work on a shared project with individual timelines, what it means to be ‘not doing’ but feeling, how we learned our whiteness and how we can imagine invisible futures. Another aspect that developed along the way, is a weekly Embodied Yoga Principle practice led by our group member Hannah. In this physical and emotional meditation, we explore through our bodies, how we feel in certain roles or with certain emotions, where we know them from and where we feel the need for more of them in our lives. This allowed me to really feel the complementary, interconnected and interdependent nature of opposites as it is embedded in the practice through the Ancient Chinese dualism of YIN, representing receiving, acceptance and consent, and YANG, associated with agency, giving and offering.

In our online residency, we have been cultivating a practice of ‘not doing’ as a dialectically complementary to our ‘normal’ practice of doing. We consciously are taking time for what comes up, focusing on the process and trusting it to unfold. The total suspension (cancellation and in the best case postponement) of our work caused a process of grief but also opened up a time for time – a time for being.

I was privileged to be able to attend a huge ceremony of Indigenous leaders and shamans at the Isla del Sol (Island of the Sun) on Lake Titicaca in Bolivia on December 21st, 2012. Marking the end of the Mayan calendar, Indigenous people celebrated the beginning of a new period in human history instead of the end of the world. In this turn of times, the dark period of ‘Macha’ or ‘no time’ which had started with the arrival of Christopher Columbus in America was followed by ‘Pachakuti’ as ‘a time for time’, overcoming capitalism, the ego and the destruction of the earth. Could it be that the calculations were about 7 years off (or it has taken us 7 years and a pandemic to realise) and now we are feeling the new age ‘Pachakuti’ where we have time to take time, where the injustice and exploitation of capitalism and white supremacy are finally being overcome and the trauma of colonialism and slavery are being healed?

So in our group, we try to take time for time and include being in our doing, try to find ways to be ‘be-ers’ as well as doers, make time for being while doing and attempt to bridge the dialectical opposites of the yin-being and yang-doing, so that one cannot be thought without the other.

However, similar to the admiration for my great-grandfather under the cherry tree, I acknowledge that we are also idealising this ‘not doing’ from a place of utmost privilege of our education and economic stability to even be able to take time for ‘not doing’. I am thankful for this generosity as I also see problems with the phrase. The German translation of ‘not doing’ for instance would probably be found somewhere between ‘nichts tun’ (doing nothing) and ‘untätig sein’ (being not-doing) which might also point towards the semantic imbalance between being and doing that Lou Platt had mentioned and already bridges the not-doing with the being. Not doing but being. However, in German both of these versions and especially ‘untätig sein’ (being not-doing) have a problematic political connotation of not doing anything, for instance against injustice and racism: Just watching and being a bystander, not intervening or not going to the protests. This notion of ‘not doing’ is obviously problematic at the moment in response to the violence and injustice towards Black, Indigenous and People of Colour all around the world but especially prominent in America at the moment. Not doing anything about this historical injustice and trauma in the sense of being ‘untätig’ (not-doing) or even ‘tatenlos’ (without deeds) means being complicit with white supremacy. However, also in this semantic analysis of the political dimension of ‘not doing’, an inherent ableism might be at work of who might even be in the position to turn up and do something. I see a huge part to be done in our society and within myself by tackling our inability to hold space and reflection around race – building white stamina, as Resmaa Menakem calls it. Acknowledging the white inabilities around race rather than insisting on the deeds which remain in the logic of perpetual doing and the unbroken white agency which sometimes (and especially on social media) seem to have mainly a performative dimension of a speech act: I state that I am anti-racist, therefore I am. In such instances deep personal self-reflection, which conventionally lies more on the spectrum of being than doing, might be more of an active anti-racist work than the active self-proclamation. Maybe there is a possibility for a more dialectical Yin-Yang understanding of ‘not doing’ that also accounts for this problematics and recognises the activity in the reflecting and taking time.


Thinking of all the work and travelling I would have done until the autumn gives me a fright now. In the same way as it was hard to get used to the thought and reality of all these ideas and plans not taking place as planned, we want to make it difficult for ourselves to fall back into these patterns of unidirectional productivity and efficiency. Considering the possibility that things could also just not take place offers the chance to include the ‘not doing’ in the conception and execution of the doing. Keeping the cherry tree in mind, while our diaries might threaten to fill up again, might allow for more time. Maybe this is part of the ‘acceptance’ that we need as artists to move through the grief of the last months.


The Doing Group on Not Doing

I finally edited my email signature, namely the regularly updated ‘upcoming’ section which, without invitation, reassures each and every recipient of correspondence that I am, in fact, busy. For the last weeks, I have been manually deleting the promised activity from the bottom of each email before sending. Reliving these cancelations over and over each day may well have had some therapeutic value, but as we morph collectively into this new normal i’m interested in the status of these cancelled events as exciting objects in their own right. 

When The Doing Group started, as is alluded in our name, we wanted to create an atmosphere akin to a reading group. An invitation read out by Peter and Josh on a misty morning by the River Kelvin, invited us on shared explorations, laboratories and experiments. It wasn’t for another 8 months that those experiments took the form of a public performance. Since then we have been privileged enough to have sustained a practice of presentation and output, even whilst spread across multiple continents and timezones. Our studio practice became a secondary means of contact, rather we are deeply familiar with the online platforms into which many organisations now venture.

Other than this geographical quirk, our working conditions mirror those of collectives and companies the neoliberal world over. We labour over applications, set targets and deadlines, deliver work and on rare occasions spend time together without the demand of a concrete outcome. As much as we try to address the pressures and demands on our group as precarious art workers, through the creation of an emergency fund for example, our working models are and will always be a product of the wider climate of artistic labour.

Peter in Rain is Liquid Sunshine, Pollokshields Playhouse 2016
Photo by Alex Lister

Bojana Kunst, in her book ‘The Artist at Work’ captures some of this shared experience in regards to our project based labour:

‘At the end of the project, there is this ‘line of death’; it is a moment of pure fulfillment, the final consummation of creative life without an experience that would follow it. To put it another way: the project is a promise in the future, but it can only be realised as a catastrophe; one namely needs to cross the line of death in order to be able to implement the project. 

Project work is therefore connected to a constant catastrophic feeling that, as a totality with which we are supposed to redo our lives (and our present), work is on the verge of collapse. Interestingly, this prevailing way of working gives a feeling (even in the case of the smallest of projects) that it transforms the whole world or at least life in general; in this manner, it even more radically influences the acceleration of duration and present time, establishing a specifically ‘economizing’ attitude toward life – we work responsibly for the future while the present slips continuously through our fingers.’

We have discussed often the implications of this ‘line of death’ or the fear of failure in how we relate as a group, in what pressures we load onto ourselves and expect of others. We care a great deal about one another but recognise that despite our intentions we are, due to our position in the system, also doing harm. And so it is of great significance that we find ourselves in this unprecedented cenario, where at present two of our current projects, after much labour and preparation are cancelled or postponed. The promises of those futures have been broken.

Stanley in [un]physical things, James Arnott Theatre 2018
Photo by Julia Bower

I want to acknowledge that the lived and material conditions of precarious workforces, everywhere are extremely vulnerable at this time, and I hope not to make light of the fact that there is a very real threat to life. I don’t wish to fetishise staying at home, as something which is not experienced year round by many disabled and chronically ill peers. The international and local mobility that I am now without was always premised on my privileges.

I am sceptical of the many calls to artists to be creative and productive in this time. I also admire the artistic community’s capacity to overcome restrictions and implement their projects in some form, pushing them still over Kunst’s ‘line of death’ in incredible displays of responsiveness and resilience.

For my peers in The Doing Group and beyond however, i’m trying to ease into the non-realisation of what we have worked so hard on.  I hope that in future, we might understand better how much worth resides in the conversations and imaginings of things which never are, and that we might channel this knowing into how we work within the system of artistic production. Cancellations didn’t undo us, they enacted the care and hospitality we strive for in every gathering, we were able to pay artists for non-delivery in a massive shift in arts funding protocol. I hope to be able to use some of the time afforded by my new routine to actively witness what has been made possible.

Our website ‘about section’, written around the time of our conception four and a half years ago, describes that we are a collaborative performance group concerned with the process of ‘doing’. In my second week of self isolation I am reminded that ‘not doing’, is a type of doing too. 

From our respective quarantines, self isolations and lock downs in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Scotland, The Doing Group will be posting some of our reflections on not doing throughout the coming weeks. We welcome any comments or ideas you might want to share with us, or not.

Sending warm wishes,

Christiana and The Doing Group


 Collaboration, Music & Temporality

Collaboration, Music & Temporality

Last month, I was on a two week development residency with Claire Love Wilson, Rory Comerford and Alasdair Roberts at the University of West of Scotland culminating in a work-in-progress performance at the Gaiety Theatre in Ayr. We developed a staging for ‘Morag You’re A Long Time Deid’, a play written by Claire about the search for a common ancestor of three characters across three different generations of a Scottish/Canadian family who are connected by their Ballad singing tradition.

The project has been slowly cooking over the last four years when I first met Claire on a night out at the Art School in Glasgow. She literally fell into my arms on the dance floor. The evening before she went back to Canada, we spoke about loose ideas for a future collaboration over a pint and whisky at the Potstill pub in Glasgow. Little did we know that we would meet again at the same pub exactly four years later to discuss the script she had written. With the help of many dramaturgical sessions through Skype over the last year, we finalised the preparations for our first development period for the piece. We were eager to try out how we could carry the story dramaturgically through the music of traditional Scottish Ballads and loop-based live soundscaping. With acclaimed folk-musician Alasdair Roberts and our dear friend and experimental composer Rory Comerford, we had gathered an artistic dream team.

The process was not unlike many of our projects as a dispersed collective with The Doing Group. Many Skype meetings and discussions in online documents and shared folders leading to a short, very intense rehearsal period where all the prepared parts are tested out together. So was our shared interest in dramaturgy and the search for new theatrical forms that would be carried by the sonic worlds created. A central aspect of the work between actors/performers, musicians and myself as a director was to find a common language, to explain staging visions and nuances in acting to the performers who are primarily accomplished musicians using musical vocabulary (a practice I got used to in my work in opera).

I found it compelling to facilitate a meeting between music and theatre – two time-based art forms that combined to disturb linear temporality. The music and soundscapes were key in creating a felt ‘space of timelessness’ as it has been described by audience feedback at the work-in-progress sharing. The performance used the Ballads as gateways to transition smoothly between the three different time levels of the three generations and the soundscapes helped to place the scenes, even when it progressed into a mythical place of the valley of Elfland from one of the Ballads in which temporality was suspended enabling the three characters to encounter each other. The residency itself became like a time-warping portal in which we went out of time through dark Ballads and traversed colonial history, forest explorations and wood pigeon impersonations.

Besides a promising start of a new project with clear ambitions of where it wants to move after the work-in-progress sharing and new artistic friendships, I left the residency with a clarity about my interest in temporality in my own performance work. The interest in time runs like a red thread through my work from my first staging of a multilingual version of Samuel Beckett’s ‘Waiting for Godot’ seven years ago, to an original performance ‘Flow: a dramatic haiku’ in which I tried to find a dramatic form inspired by Japanese haiku poetry to explore the last words of my grandmother: ‘Maybe time is really the most precious thing we get from life and to treat it preciously will always remain a life wisdom.’, as well as my choreographic and site-specific exploration of ruin(ed) temporality in TIME DUST which I hope to redevelop in the coming season on the suggestion of The Doing Group’s Irina – of course with her as dramaturge.

In ‘Morag, You’re A Long Time Deid’, it was Claire’s grandmother who inspired the piece and to start thinking about time through music. The residency was definitely a precious use of our time and resources, and its questions continue to resonate deeply as I constantly hear wood-pigeons and continue to dream of how it can be developed further in the future. Time will tell.

Embodied Yoga Principles Teacher Training

Hello Everyone,

I am now currently based in Basel, Switzerland. I have been working remotely with The Doing Group whilst also developing some key life skills: snowboarding. Yes, I have had the privilege to have spent the first few months of this year learning to fall down mountains gracefully and I have thoroughly enjoyed it.

Whilst engaging with a new challenge, I have also been studying German, Permaculture and other movement practices. With this is mind, I have just returned from a 4-day Embodied Yoga Principles Teacher Training in Brixton, London. It was an amazing weekend. To really understand the principles, we had to do these poses for ourselves and I must say, these poses are very effective. The training was challenging, troubling and very insightful.
So, what is Embodied Yoga Principles? Well in short, it is a set of principles that reveals patterns, behaviours, and habits through a series of poses and movements. The pose reveals how we are, and through this awareness, the pose gives us choice in how we want to be and what we may need more or less of within our everyday lives. EYP is about awareness, choice and integration.

I approached this weekend with some reservations. It was recommended to me, yet I didn’t fully know what it was. I practise Yoga, meditation and breathwork daily and I was unsure whether this course was for me. However, after the first day of critical observation, the practise gave me the opportunity for rigorous self-enquiry. The techniques are so simple, but so profound. This may sound like a lot of Yoga talk, but it really isn’t. This approach brings self-study, responsibility and choice into the foreground and has given me tools for informed transformation into my practises; not just Yoga, but everything I do.

The self-enquiry is one valuable element of EYP, the other is choice. The pose leads us to embody an archetype and asks us to notice how it feels, whether this feeling is familiar or not, whether it is strenuous or easy. Through this process, we notice our behavioural patterns, observe them and having done so, we are given the chance to change them.
I met some truly authentic, genuinely inspiring people on this course and it has opened a channel towards a sharing community where lessons and wisdom within the field are passed on. I cannot wait to share these with the rest of The Doing Group to add another element to our physical practices. I am now in the process of completing the teacher training.

If anyone here is interested in movement, Yoga, embodiment practices, mindfulness, dance or physical therapy, I really recommend checking the EYP website: https://www.embodiedyogaprinciples.com/

Warmth and Kindness,


So as you you may have heard, we have recently spent time together on a residency in Berlin. Peter kindly hosted (most of) us in his one-bedroom apartment and we worked, talked, walked, and laughed a lot. We were here working on a new project born out of our fascination with cityscapes, the multiplicities of a space and urban unlocking. With this in mind and Italo Calvino’s novel Invisible Cities open in the corner of the studio, I invite you to engage with a game we played around with in.

I describe to you a man. This man is a city. Can you guess which one?

Quietness arrived. It is 3 in the morning and silence is rare. He was a handsome man. A little older now with dark hair and dark skin. You could tell he had an amazing smile, if only he showed it to you. His hair, a little long was greying very subtly at his temples. This man is a city. He was a kind man. He is worn down by the years with eyes full of unfulfilled aspirations, but he is still determined. He is a simple man. He wears a white vest underneath all his clothing, a small belly protruding on top of a very slender body. He wears bifocals but rarely puts them over his eyes, he doesn’t need them he says, instead they hold his hair from falling over his face.

He constantly wears construction boots, with a heavy-duty rubber sole, yet he does not have a job. He is a smoker. He smokes in the morning, he smokes with his breakfast, he smokes while talking to his wife, he smokes while greeting his daughters, he smokes while advising his only son. He smokes when he is working, he smokes when he is resting, he smokes before and after he prays, and he smokes into the night. This man is a city.

This man is a collector. He collects everything. His garage is full, bursting and bleeding out into other areas of the house, but all these treasures of the modern world are gathering dust, none of it works, but he still has them. He was an engineer. He is constantly tinkering and playing with something, trying to pry it open to understand it. He thinks he can fix it, but rarely does.

He is a beautiful man. He has great intentions and a perfect laugh but is often chastised for his selfishness. He loves with all his heart in the only way he knows. This is often not enough. He is found in deep thought, contemplating how he got here. He has many regrets. But there is hope, he has a new idea, things are on the rise.

This man is a city. Can you guess which one?


A short while ago, the Doing Group decided to bridge the physical gap between us once more and see what could be made of our coming together that doesn’t always come together apart. After having enjoyed last year’s February Finland jaunt we decided that once again we should wish to be cold and uncomfortable outside, spurred on to seek creative refuge in some previously abandoned compound now used for education. We raced to Berlin, desperate to take advantage of one of our group’s new living arrangements, and to put the fun in functional living.

Coming from across the globe to sit in this room, we spend much of the time in silence. Sometimes we move, sometimes I feel like the movement is not necessary anymore. You sometimes say something and then we talk about it. Variations on this theme continue for some days. Occasionally we look at phones and sometimes we lie on the floor. Sometimes we stay longer. On one occasion someone was rather stand-offish that we hadn’t vacated the room ever so slightly sooner. I have no time for people like this but I imagine someone somewhere does. At this point in time, I have nothing to reveal about our process or what we talked about. That’s not to say I am hiding anything, I just feel it’s unnecessary to say anything but that there were a lot of thoughts produced.

In the evenings, we turn these thoughts over and over in our heads, twisted together like some philosophical pretzel, revolving like a gyro, never-ending or beginning until, abetted with cheap pints, it is suddenly picked clean. Is what is left worth holding on to, or was it the journey there that should be cherished, regardless of how much attention we paid it at the time? Thankfully, it doesn’t matter too much. For once, we are wonderfully pointless. No deadlines loom over us, fast-approaching an occasion to let you see what we have done. We have nothing to show you yet, nor do we actually feel obliged to ever have anything to show you. But I think we should like to at some point.

A Slight Bend of the Forearm

We recently decided, to use this part of our website together, to keep track of the many strands of work and life which orbit the group projects of ‘The Doing Group’. As such we will be posting under the heading of ‘collective’ bits and bobs which contribute to our ongoing dialogue as individuals. To start off, here is a slight repost of what I have been up to in the chilli North!

While in Helsinki, I have been taking part in a pilot Masters in Ecology and Performance. At the core of this masters has been a question ‘what is performance now?’ This question is one shared often in the experimentation of The Doing Group. Engaging with contemporary theory around environment and interconnection, this masters has placed me in lots of new environments including biological research stations, tissue laboratories and taxidermy workshops. My research then has been really engaged with what art might offer, in an age where our relationship to science feels urgent and fragile.

I started working with water dowsing as a means of traversing different modes of knowing. I wondered what it might do to my body and mind to familiarise myself with a method that I cannot fully understand, an exercise in trust. Now I am beginning to form the outward facing component of this research. The following photos are from some performance and installation experiments I have taken in recent months.

For the next weeks of my thesis research, I will be working with a derelict site, much like the one we use in Rain is Liquid Sunshine, and a black box theatre. I am interested in teasing out what happens when things appear and disappear in theatre space and in cities.

As always, I look forward to sharing this conversation with the rest of The Doing Group.

Christiana x

It started

It started early on a cold and foggy Thursday. The fifth of November 2015, the morning of Bonfire Night. We met on the Botanics’ footbridge crossing the Kelvin. Eerie music, the reading of a short text, biscuits, coffee and juice: the liminoid meets the familiar, comfort mixed with Unheimlichkeit. Already this first meeting, with a loose agenda, a small breakfast and a non-binding ritual was hard to place. The Doing Group, as the first manifest that morning postulated ‘rejects simple answers’.

It started as an alternative to a reading group. In the proximity of theatre and performance, people are well aware that there are more ways into a topic than books. Making sense is an inherently active process. Doing is a way of understanding. The Doing Group sets out to explore proactively.

It started, because we wanted to do something. ‘Every doing in turn creates new realities’. It is a meaning-making process not only through understanding, but through the creation of the world around us. The Doing Group shapes its surroundings as it tries to explain it.

It started as a performance research collective, employing a plethora of different strategies reaching from invisible theatre and urban exploration to staged performances. We’re 6 members, located between Glasgow and Helsinki. We’re interested in many things. Urbanism, ecology, supermodernity, new materialism, concrete, liveness, ruins, labour and other topics along the way. During our first few months, our practice was simply to meet up regularly. We had investigative sessions outside and reflective sessions in the studio. Exploration and development. We gave ourselves a rule to work by: no answers, just questions. We would try and set ourselves a question that hopefully turned out impossible to answer and only move on to a new question, once we had failed to answer the old one exhaustively and to all of our satisfaction. So far, we have successfully failed to answer anything, often just raising more and more questions along the way. This process has helped us to figure out what we find truly interesting, and also to some extent made us undo existing knowledge and approach things with genuine curiosity and a confident lack of expertise.

At some point during these first few months of exploration, we felt that we had discovered enough questions that we could try and present something performatively to other people. We did not try to make shows that answered things, but that perhaps recreated some of our approaches, experiences, failures and questions. ‘Rain Is Liquid Sunshine’ was scratched at Only Skin first, and developed from there into a full-length performance shown at the Southside Fringe and UNFIX ReBirth. It investigates urban ecological cycles, and with it cycles of labour, production, ruination and location. It poses the question what futures we can imagine, when the idea of progress is drained away.

Since then, we have developed one other full-length performance, with the help of the University of Glasgow’s Alasdair Cameron Scholarship. ‘Elsewheres’ is a simultaneous performance between Glasgow and Helsinki, engaging with ideas about choice, overabundance, commodification of time and desire. It was shown in Glasgow and Helsinki simultaneously on the 10th and the 11th of March.

During our first year as a collective, we organised a series of seminars, where we would invite a speaker to present on a topic of their choice and in return serve them dinner. The talk would then be discussed over shellfish. This series of events, obviously called ‘Lobster Lectures’, was a way for us to engage deeper with our department and understand the interests and research of our teachers beyond the limits of the classroom. This has since also come to shape our practice through a sense of creative permeability: We try to let skills, interests and ideas enter our process, no matter whether they are obviously related or not; no matter if they’re ours or from somewhere else.

The idea of permeability goes hand in hand with that of creative absence: While we’re all dedicated, we’re not always in the same space, and we’re not always equally available. But navigating these issues, we actually gained a lot of trust into each other and us as a group. For example, it’s just me (Josh) in front of my laptop right now. Yet I know that everyone will be happy for me to write and sign and send this text and it will be representative of the whole group. Our members are the party line. Through this, we have found out much about creative absence and using the gaps that appear when not everyone is always equally present. In fact, these gaps often inspire the greatest creative leaps.

Seeking failure, permeability and creative absence are processes that don’t dictate a specific method or product. They aren’t themselves a tool for devising as much as a way to hold the tools. I think, perhaps, that these approaches are to practice what weak theory is to discourse: they don’t claim completeness or priority. They don’t compete with other approaches as much as enrich them. Rather than to restrict yourself through adhering to a grand approach or all-encompassing practice, these instances of what I call weak practice will hopefully lend themselves to all kinds of situations, enhancing other methods. Whatever topic we would engage with, whatever strategy we’d employ, these weak practices helped us in our creative processes, our group dynamics and our understanding of ideas.

And hopefully, they carry across in our performances as well. Keith Bruce wrote about The Doing Group to ‘give them your active support,’ so take it from him and check out our projects in the future.