Notes From a “Finissage” – Saying Goodbye to DARE-DARE

Some weeks before the finissage, while I was planning the “final” non-active action (in quotes because, like I keep saying, the project will continue) I had this despondent sensation about me. The very distinct feeling that you can’t go back.

In this case, the going back would be to the same apple trees where we had met, one year earlier. The return to the place of the first encounter would not only mark an anniversary but also provoke a kind of nostalgia. It had me questioning, “Why is it so important to me to finish where we started?” And “Is it possible, or even desirable, to repeat the same experience?” And I know the answer to that question already. It’s one that comes up time and again within performance art practice: even if you do the same action, the context, the audience, the time have all already changed. It is never an identical thing twice.

So there is the feeling of “no looking back” that comes from the knowledge that even if you attempt to repeat something (same place, same action) with the hopes of recreating a specific experience, or set of sensations, you are inevitably going to be disappointed. But there is also the reality which dictates that it is just virtually impossible to recreate a particular experience. In other words, that aspiration is doomed to fail.

Fate would have it that we would not be back under those trees after all. The weather was abysmal and I had no desire to sit in the rain. Besides, the grey and cool climate in the days prior made it such that the trees hadn’t even come into bloom. Circumstances basically determined that we would not go back.

There was a loss. A moment that we missed. A failed attempt at reproducing those specific sensations. But inevitably, something else happened. An encounter tailored for this time and place. An acceptance of what will happen, in opposition to what I think I want, or imagine I can impose. Which pointed to another, fundamental aspect of the project: that failure is a foundational component. Every attempt to Do Nothing, to bring people together to engage in a moment of non-action was accompanied by a persistent doubt: are we doing this right? Is this what Doing Nothing is supposed to feel like? Is this what Doing Nothing is supposed to do? Don’t get me wrong – I’m not so much hung up on a correct or incorrect structure/method/outcome but more so thinking about the accomplishment of desire. And the framing of this experience as Art.

If we understand that Doing Nothing (on one level anyway) is a reaction to over-consumption, over-stimulation, unnecessary depletion of resources and the rest of the rhetoric that surrounds a progressive, preservation-of-humanity ideology, then the whole program is going to run counter to official culture, accepted art-market mechanisms and a ubiquitous pressure to PRODUCE BE ACTIVE MAKE WORK SHOW WORK NETWORK STAY VISIBLE. Failure is necessarily built into the fabric of the piece. And a double-failure at that: for in the midst of this anti-art proposal which inscribes itself in the claims made above, I am nonetheless here, being productive making myself/these non-actions visible: keeping a project blog, posting on Facebook, inviting people to participate through a mailing list, organizing, planning… A failure, failed (versus a successful one??) The multiple paradoxes inherent in the Doing of Nothing just keep coming… (but as a result could in fact find much solace and kinship within the lineage of anti-art).


I realized through doing this project that I have been deliberately proposing processes that take time. That make time. That waste time. Initiating long(ish)-term operations that meander and prolong contact with the matter at hand. It’s about wishing to luxuriate in a context where connection, dialogue, research, and reflection circulate continuously (even with pauses). Kind of like being at school without being at school. But I have to come clean. I’m a human-connections addict. I hate saying goodbye. Even with all my Buddhist education, my awareness of the importance of cycles starting and finishing, of letting go and of a universal impermanence, I still don’t relish an end.


The gathering itself, in the trailer at DARE-DARE was somewhat subdued, most likely due to the grey day outside but also to my state as predicated by the words written above. Solemn too, and quite grounded. A tranquil appreciation and engagement. Having not been granted the initial action under the trees, the encounter became about bringing things forward through our memory of them. And about how we occupy space (when) in awkward silence. I wanted to let those silences sit. And to refer to them (thank you John Cage). In the absence of the trees with their seductive pink petals was a circle of people. In the absence of the trees that would draw all of our (floating, daydreaming) attention so that we may be less conscious of each other and self-conscious of our selves in a circle. A few texts read out loud and several, prolonged pauses. The silence of these pauses became our collective non-action. Pauses then punctuated by short anecdotes around the circle about Doing Nothing. Again followed by intervals of quiet; i.e.: Nothing. I began by leading the non-action, but gradually it took on its own rhythm; organically emerging through the group; I ended up just following it. I stopped being stuck in what was not, and listened to what was. In the absence of the trees were our stories and stillness. It was a beautiful landing.


On May 14, I officially said Goodbye to DARE-DARE. And then the very next day, as I was coming home from an appointment on the other side of town, I decided to take a detour. The sun had finally come out and so I disembarked at an earlier metro stop to take advantage of the mild day and walk. I came out of the station and the trees had just exploded. Literally overnight. I was near the trailer. I stopped in to say hello. Julie took the picture (at the top of the post) after I handed her the branch from the tree I’d just visited (below). And then I left to go home. The first cycle now ended and life (with its intervals of Nothing) continuing…

Online Business News Takes on Doing Nothing

I am fascinated to read not one, but two articles that, within a week of each other, have appeared in an online journal billing itself as a news outlet “for business people in the new global economy.”

I am wondering: what is this trend that seems to be emerging, whereby people who think, talk and write about global markets are pushing the “idleness is good” agenda…?

I don’t necessarily want to plug this online outlet but I do want to put it forward as interesting case study: “Like Wired in the 1990s and The Economist in the 1840s, Quartz [said magazine in question] embodies the era in which it is being created. The financial crisis that recently engulfed much of the world wasn’t just a cyclical decline or a correction or even a bubble bursting. It was a breaking point. And its shockwaves exposed a fundamentally changed economic order with new leaders and ways of doing business.” …This is how they describe themselves in their About section. And perhaps they just might be genuinely attempting to see business & economics (and the human factor that circulates within each) through another lens – given their propensity to publish pieces with titles such as this:

The psychological importance of wasting time

and this:

The transformative power of doing absolutely nothing

…So let’s see if this does continue as a mere “flavour of the month” phenomenon, of if a real paradigm shift is actually under way…!

The First Yearlong Cycle of Doing Nothing Comes to an End

Watching the Apple Trees Lose Their Blossoms, May 2016, Photo by: Csenge Kolozsvári

The Sanctimonious Sect of Nothing Is Sacred Presents:
Watching the Apple Trees Blossom (le début est la fin d’un cycle continu)
A project (for life) by Victoria Stanton

Sunday May 14, 2017

2pm to 3:30pm: collective non-action under the apple trees
***UPDATE*** due to rainy conditions, the collective non-action will NOT be taking place under the apple trees in Parc Atwater-St-Charles but instead be happening at the DARE-DARE trailer (Intersection Atwater, Greene & Doré in front of the Atwater Market)

4pm to 5:30pm: finissage at the DARE-DARE trailer (see address above)

As part of DARE-DARE’s 2016-2017 cycle of programming, “La Société des Rendez-vous,” The Sanctimonious Sect of Nothing Is Sacred proposed a yearlong residence in which I instigated publicly held “non-events”: collectively enacted moments of downtime in a variety of public locations, mainly around the South West of Montreal. Non-active (and largely invisible) actions were carried out alongside a program of curated dialogues (Talking About Nothing With…) in which artists, researchers, thinkers and practitioners of various disciplines – both within and outside of the arts – were invited to present their reflections in an open format around the idea of Doing Nothing. The ensemble of gatherings generated extensive discussions around the complexity of this quest: What does it even mean to “Do Nothing?” Is it a state of “pure being?” Or does it simply mean “not working?” (As in, “if I’m not working I’m doing nothing.”) Is it a form of resistance? Is it an assertion of Freedom? Is it necessary for our wellbeing? Doing Nothing is clearly paradoxical, and perhaps quite impossible to do. At the same time a general consensus repeatedly rose to the surface: that there is a need to carve out such spaces (and times) for deep pause within our personal lives and within our professional sectors – albeit that this is a very difficult thing to actually (or consistently) do. Sitting with the intricacies of these questions it has become clear that the affirmation of such (non)activity is an inherently political act; it challenges notions of productivity, what constitutes “failure” (and success) and reconsiders “non-productive” uses of time.

…And what about bringing this quest into an art context? The opportunity to embark on this slippery, if not contradictory task (that of Doing Nothing) within the frame of DARE-DARE’s mandate became an instance of prolonged embodied research into the more imperceptible areas of art-making and artistic process. Exploring the invisible, liminal spaces in art has been a long-standing preoccupation of mine, and The Sanctimonious Sect of Nothing Is Sacred became an invaluable container, and occasion, within which to delve even more deeply into this fertile area of performative practice.

…And so…How to wrap up a project that I know needs to keep going? I feel like I’m left with as many questions as when I started. But this is encouraging; I think my questions got more interesting. And as all good things must come to an end, this finissage marks what I think of as one end – the completion of a first cycle. The Sanctimonious Sect of Nothing Is Sacred began exactly a year ago, under the blossoming apple trees just as their bloom was in descent. We come back to the same spot, this time at the commencement of the blossom season, to mark new beginnings, and to celebrate a full year of… Nothing.

I will continue to enthusiastically insert this Nothing into my everyday, however; to see/accept/appreciate Nothing as Something and hold the space of Nothing in the company of others who wish to continue to accompany me in this quiet, open, sacred, and decidedly un-productive, lifelong project.

« Nous terminerons là où nous avons commencé; nous recommencerons là où nous allons terminer. »

Temps Libre Meets Doing Nothing: An Accidental Moment of Free Time Dectection!

Following yesterday’s posting which was a recap of our time with Sylvie Tourangeau, I was on a walk today to an appointment. My walk had a purpose (getting from point A to point B) but it was a relaxed affair seeing as I had (for once) given myself a lot of leeway to get to where I was going. En route, I passed a crosswalk lady named Carole who smiled serenely at me as I traversed her corner. Just then, when I had turned to look in the direction she was facing, I noticed a line several magnolia trees in full bloom. These were mature trees, tall, majestic and absolutely glorious.

“Oh my!” I exclaimed and turned back again to face Carole. “What an amazing view you have from here, getting to see those incredible flowers at your station.”

“Oh yes,” said Carole. “I take great pleasure in having this beautiful landscape. But it’s not just now: even though those trees are amazing I actually love this corner all times of the year. Each season it’s beautiful for different reasons. But yes, those trees are spectacular, and I see them every year. Although when school lets out and traffic is busy, I don’t really get to pay much attention, I’m too preoccupied with my work. It’s this time of day now, when traffic is quiet that I can just stand here and take it in.”

“…Ah-ha!!” I thought to myself. My Free Time Detector was on (see yesterday’s post) and it effectively sniffed out a moment of pause for this employee of the City of Montreal. This pause, an instance when she wasn’t officially working (though ready, at her station) just “naturally” inserted itself into her day: a moment of daydream, of very subtly Doing Nothing; an interval of free time (a time when her thoughts and gaze could wander freely, without concern for helping the cascade of students to cross safely as she does, when on duty).

Noticing her moment of “Free Time” spilled over to my own sense of pause, making my walk today that much more nuanced and spacious. My mission to get somewhere was now infused with the light scent of magnolia, and a partaking in another being’s delicate joy.

Post-(Non)Action Thoughts: Sylvie Tourangeau on Doing Nothing

In true Sylvie Tourangeau fashion, this pioneer of Canadian performance art had us carrying out a very personalized form of performative encounter during the presentation which revisited her own year-and-a-half-long residency titled Temps libre. Temps libre (or Free Time, in English) was a project in which Sylvie questioned how we individually embody a sense of internal freedom; where/when we make space to welcome ourselves and create what it is in our day-to-day lives that we turn to accommodate this form of downtime and accomplish our self-nuturing. … This description is my words, you can read about it from Sylvie’s perspective on the 3e impérial’s website (the artist-run centre that hosted her research).

While her project at the 3e culminated in an exploration of what it means to be a “faiseur de temps libre” (a maker – or doer – of free time), for the Talking About Nothing With… series she decided to transform this role into a “detector of free time” (“des détecteurs de temps libre”). Kind of like what a smoke detector does, sniffing out the fire before it bursts into flames, a detector of free time wanders freely and sniffs out the invisible zones where states of free-ness – of time not being counted on the clock, or space being taken without necessarily any real mission to accomplish – might be circulating around and between us.

Describing her ideas to the group of assembled participants, Sylvie recounted the evolution of her approach to thinking about what role Free Time plays, and how we can try to get there. She pointed to it being a kind of state of mind (“un état d’esprit”) in which we may experience a “non-anticipation,” a state in which there is little, or no imposing of one’s will (onto a situation), nor are there any expectations. She underlined these facets to then propose the possibility that when we arrive in a space, this “Free Time” might already be present and floating around us. “Et si le temps libre existait déjà?” She asked. … Hence our role of becoming Free Time Detectors.

So she then dispatched us out into the environs of the Atwater Market in a duet of exercises, the first part with each of us dispersed through the market’s various interiors, looking for surprise instances of a preexisting Free Time. After coming back together for a group discussion, we were sent back out again, this time to wander around the outside of the market, into the parking lot and over toward the canal and foot bridge, and to the train tracks and various other elements in the surrounding landscape, to now consider where we find “mobility within immobility.”

This second exercise was inspired by a succinct remark one of the participants in her residence at the 3e impérial had offered her during one of their accumulated meetings: “Le temps libre c’est le temps qui se trouve juste avant le geste” (free time is time that can be found right before the gesture). So the idea here was to see if we could locate, as the Free Time Detectors that we had become, a sense of movement within that which is seemingly still (and vice-versa). In other words, what is the relationship of stillness to movement – in particular within those spaces where free time is often found (like where we were here, at a farmers’ market).

Assembled once again, we exchanged our respective experiences. The breadth of observations from the two activities provided the following:

– I had a strong sense of free time at the moment when I spontaneously exchanged smiles with a stranger, and then again when the merchant at one of the kiosks shut the lights to close up shop.

– I looked at compost in a bin, rotting, and wondered: is this a form of free time?

– I saw employees in some of the shops kind of standing around, because they knew the day was coming to a close and I thought this was small window of free time in their work day.

– I was looking for who or what might be feeling free time around the market: were products on shelves in a kind of free time; the pot of flowers or the smoked ham?

– I didn’t so much feel like a detector, but like a porous entity, like I was a walking state of welcoming; to have free time, one needs to be able to welcome…

– My reflex was to move slowly, because I wasn’t sure what I was looking for, so I needed to make sure I was slow enough to be sure not to miss it!

– After being very still I wanted to interact with everything in the environment.

– Observing all the lines around me: I wanted to be part of these lines but break with them as well. It had me wondering whether my free time would exist after my gesture as well…

– I didn’t, or couldn’t, really feel (or find) immobility; everything is constantly moving in some way or other, including the thoughts in my head! I found a kind of peace with this, however; knowing that everything does just keep moving…

… And this, I found, was the perfect presentation with which to wrap up the Talking About Nothing With… series, an extended moment of combined individual/collective contemplation about the invisible spaces that fill our day-to-day, those instances in which pause (as possibility and as phenomenon) can flourish to (even if only momentarily) become opportunities for revelatory moments about the self.

Talking About Nothing With… Parlons de rien avec… Sylvie Tourangeau (Montreal)

Public Forum About Nothing Presents: Talking About Nothing With…

Sylvie Tourangeau
April 26, 2017 from 5 to 7pm
/ 26 avril 2017 de 17h à 19h
La roulotte de DARE-DARE trailer
Intersection Atwater, Greene & Doré devant le marché / in front of the market

As part of the yearlong project, The Sanctimonious Sect of Nothing Is Sacred, I am inviting artists, researchers, thinkers, and practitioners of various disciplines – both within and outside of the arts – to present their reflections in an open format around the question of Doing Nothing.

The fifth (and final) in the series is a presentation and collective action with Sylvie Tourangeau.

Revisiting her residence project titled Temps libre, that she carried out two years ago with the 3e impérial artist-run centre in Granby, QC, Sylvie is proposing a collective moment of Free Time.

She writes:
“What are the ways in which free time infiltrates our body? Free time: a notion… a sensation… a parallel universe… a practice… an SOS…

Rendez-vous for late afternoon, personalized – and collective – moment of free time at DARE-DARE, 5pm. Wear clothes that you’ll be comfortable in, inside or outside.”

Sylvie Tourangeau is considered a pioneer of performance art in Canada. Since 1978, her actions, collective workshops and individual coaching have actively created a space for the experimentation of a performative consciousness through minimal actions that enhance the quality of presence, support intensity and personify connections with the viewer. Performances, relational art, furtive practices and rituals of circumstance are her main areas of focus. She has also published artist books and more than sixty articles on a significant ensemble of performers. Currently, she is working with the TouVA collective (Anne Bérubé and Victoria Stanton) on a publication on the performative mode to appear in the fall of 2017.


Dans le cadre du projet L’édifiante secte de rien (n)’est sacré, qui se déroule sur un an, j’invite des artistes, et praticien.nes de diverses disciplines [artistiques ou extra-artistiques] à présenter leur réflexions durant une série de discussions informelles portant sur la question du rien faire. La formule est complètement ouverte, ce qui permet à chaque conférencier.ère de prévoir la manière dans laquelle il ou elle désire aborder le sujet et engager l’auditoire.

Le cinquième (et dernier) rendez-vous de la série est une présentation et action collective sur la notion du temps libre avec Sylvie Tourangeau.

Deux ans après une résidence d’artiste au 3e impérial à Granby (QC), Sylvie propose de revisiter le projet lors d’un moment collectif de Temps libre.

Sylvie écrit :
« De quelles façons le temps libre infiltre-t-il notre corps? Le temps libre : une notion… une sensation… un monde parallèle… une pratique… un S.O.S….

Rendez-vous pour un 5 à 7 pour un temps libre personnalisé et en collectif. Rendez-vous à la roulotte de DARE_DARE à 17:00. Merci de vous habiller en lien avec la température. »

Sylvie Tourangeau est considérée comme une pionnière de l’art performance au Canada. Depuis 1978, ses actions, ses ateliers collectifs et ses coachings individuels créent un espace actif d’expérimentation de la conscience performative à travers des actions minimales qui renchérissent la qualité de présence, soutiennent l’intensité et personnifient le lien avec le spectateur. Performances, art relationnel, pratiques furtives et rituels de circonstances sont des pratiques dans lesquelles elle s’investit. Elle a aussi publié des livres d’artistes et plus d’une soixantaine d’articles sur un ensemble important de performeur-es. Actuellement, elle prépare avec le collectif TouVA (Anne Bérubé et Victoria Stanton) une publication sur le mode performatif à paraître à l’automne 2017.

Post-Experience Thoughts: Sarah Harwood on Doing Nothing

I first met Sarah when I started to go for Feldenkrais sessions in August 2015. I was there primarily because of persistent back pain, and was curious about this method, having tried a number of other treatments.

…Personal problems aside, it quickly became clear to me when I began my lessons (as they are often referred to with this practice) how many intersecting points there are between this somatic method and many of the notions that are forefront in my current performance art research. The enactment of the micro-event, the importance of what transpires in the invisible, the emergence of a tangible, liminal experience… these three components could just as equally describe (one form of) performance research as they could Feldenkrais.

At some point early on during this trajectory, I was also gearing up (or down, as it were!) toward the Doing Nothing project. Of course, arriving at the particular juncture in my work where I had – stripping away pretty much all artifice and creating increasingly imperceptible “actions” – I saw how this new direction I was taking (or really, a deepening of a direction that my work was basically moving in) was also being mirrored in my newly acquired intellectual & embodied knowledge of Feldenkrais. I felt as though I was experiencing Doing Nothing on a whole other plane.

Which is what inspired me to invite Sarah to give a presentation in the form of a lesson. I wanted to hear her speak to these ideas, but we both agreed: talking about music is like dancing about architecture. In other words, the proof is in the pudding and the best way to really discover Feldenkrais is to just…experience it!

And to help frame the experience through the lens of Doing Nothing, to see if we could create these parallels in real time through the actual lesson, here is what I proposed to Sarah:

“I am interested in how the micro-event can/does connect to states of cognitive/physical awareness & transformation; how in an apparent stillness (or very very subtle movement) taking place in our body/mind, so much is actually going on! … And so I am wondering: What is happening in the body when seemingly not a whole lot is (visibly) taking place? Where is this transformation occurring? How is the body integrating these changes?

I am wishing to explore how it is that when we engage in this very subtle listening and engage in these micro movements, we are also making space for a deeper listening to occur. So it continues along and creates a kind of cycle: once we start to listen more deeply, which potentially leaves/makes more room for heightened awareness, we are then prone to increasingly notice these subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) shifts in our bodies – increasingly recognizing the fact that lots is happening. We then make (even more) room, leave room, create room (space/time in our bodies & minds) through these subtle processes for even more shifts to exist, to emerge, to take up this space (in our consciousness, in our bodies)… the micro, and seemingly invisible, event manifests in visible (and visibly felt) ways.

All the while… it might look (and even at first feel) as though we aren’t really doing anything… ie: a kind of doing nothing… and yet, so much is actually happening.”

Sarah responded:

“The idea of making space resonates with me very deeply in a literal and figurative way. That’s how I feel when I take care to feel in a “feldy” way. There’s a tangible yet mysterious sense of expansiveness and potential that opens up especially if we’ve been able to not make any extra effort with the movement. We get the most profound results when we emphasize listening to ourselves authentically over trying to reach a goal. If we try too hard in a Feldenkrais session, we can end up frustrated, sore, and defeated. If we can engage with what is actually happening in the moment with care and respect, suddenly that space we are talking about presents itself.”

…Post-lesson, we had a discussion which came back to these ideas as a starting point into all the myriad parallels & resonances. We were reminded by Sarah, for example, how rest is implicit – and absolutely crucial – in the practice, how when we do learn something new, it is strongly recommended to be still, and let the body integrate this new information. Very similar line of thought to that which neuroscientists studying the brain in states of inactivity have also determined (Andrew Smart, Autopilot).

But then, the unexpected and marvelous revelation of this lesson surfaced via a remark from one of the participants. Because I come to this practice nonetheless with a subjective perspective, a set of ideas that I have been mulling over for several months, and so also possibly a set of assumptions, this observation stirred me. While on the one hand it is desirable to feel a beautiful sense of abandon, of peaceful calm and relaxation, not everyone does encounter these particular sensations. However relaxation isn’t necessarily the goal. While rest is implicit and the incredibly subtle movements can seem like our body is barely doing anything, the actual aim, as Sarah commented, is “to use our bodies in the most effective way possible.” This means with the least amount of effort possible. Little effort because the body is learning bit by little bit how to be increasingly efficient. The mind then follows and as clarity sets in, so does a greater sense of self-awareness, and alertness. At first that can feel like you’re “cheating” (what’s going on, shouldn’t I feel like I “did something?”) but that is part of the startling result, coming back to what Sarah said earlier: “If we try to hard, we end up sore and defeated…” Effortless effort, as founder Moshe Feldenkrais called it, is the goal. And how fascinating that this phenomenon is, as it happens, also the main tenet of Wu wei*, an important concept in Taoism that literally means non-action or non-doing… ” (which I’m just reading about now – as I write this – on Wikipedia). Yet another layer of linking concepts…

…Clearly, I’ll be saying more on that front soon!! But I’ll leave it here for now.

*With thanks to Robert Luzar for placing this last notion onto my radar, mere moments before the class. Talk about impeccable timing.

Moment. Of. Nothing.

As part of B-312’s annual collective fundraising exhibition, POUR L’ART, I will be proposing a performative experience. Moment. Of. Nothing. (Moment. De. Rien.) invites potential art-buyers to choose a moment of nothing among three possible options. One, two or three of the three performative experiences can be purchased, the resulting “product” being an accompanied moment together, out in the world, doing nothing. A walk, an interval in sitting, a pause while staring off into space are all on offer…

POUR L’ART, exposition bénéfice
Galerie B-312
372, Ste-Catherine, O, suite 403

Du 22 avril au 13 mai, 2017
vernissage le 22 avril, 2017 à 14h

– read more about the exhibition here –

Talking About Nothing With… Parlons de rien avec… Sarah Harwood (Montreal)

Public Forum About Nothing Presents: Talking About Nothing With…

Sarah Harwood
April 21, 2017 from 2 to 4pm

As part of the yearlong project, The Sanctimonious Sect of Nothing Is Sacred, I am inviting artists, researchers, thinkers, and practitioners of various disciplines – both within and outside of the arts – to present their reflections in an open format around the question of Doing Nothing.

The fourth in the series is a hands-on lesson, followed by an open discussion, with Feldenkrais Method Practitioner, Sarah Harwood.

Feldenkrais is a form of somatic education that uses gentle movement and directed attention to improve movement and enhance human functioning. Through this Method, you can increase your ease and range of motion, improve your flexibility and coordination, and rediscover your innate capacity for graceful, efficient movement. These improvements will often generalize to enhance functioning in other aspects of your life.

Sarah writes:
“By moving slowly and deliberately in each class using everyday actions like looking up, reaching, turning, or bending as inspiration, we are given the opportunity to learn how we use ourselves. We experience how different parts of ourselves relate to each other and we can use this knowledge to inform a variety of movement options and thinking patterns that may have previously been unavailable to us. People of all fitness levels, abilities, sizes and genders are welcome to attend. The classes are verbally guided, and hands-on help is available for those who request it. Classes are usually conducted either on mats on the floor (which are provided) or seated in chairs. There is no stretching or strength training involved.”

Sarah Harwood is a Feldenkrais practitioner certified by the North American Feldenkrais Guild. She’s also completed the first two segments of a Somatic Experiencing (SE) training program. When she’s not teaching or practising Feldenkrais for herself, Sarah can be found doing graphic design and cooking up a storm. She’s a friendly, pragmatic, creative type who loves pen and ink drawing, reading about how humans work, and gardening. She was raised in tiny wilderness village in central British Columbia, and it’ll show if you ask her to build a fire or a drift-wood fort. She grew up with severe anxiety and hyper-sensitivity and is particularly interested in exploring how the Feldenkrais Method can help people mitigate the causes and symptoms of hyper-vigilance.

— Maximum 8 participants
— To reserve your spot please email your name and phone number to
— Spots are limited so PLEASE, only register if you know you can really be there. THANKS!
— Address will be given when you have confirmed your participation the day before the lesson; email by 3pm April 20
– read more about the Feldenkrais Method & Sarah’s work here –

Nothing In Nothing With Nothing (Not Even a Computer!), Cégep du Vieux Montréal

At the invitation of the Cégep du Vieux Montréal and as part of the 9th edition of their Semaine de la citoyenneté (Citizenship Week), I proposed a collective (non)action with students from the Cégep. Within their theme of “Technological Mutations: Between Ecstasy and Terror,” the school appointed a designated internet- & screen-free zone inside the student café, L’Exode, which they billed as a “Space of Resistance.”

Arriving upon the scene with the ubiquitous question: “Is it possible to create a space of Nothing, of rest and interval, smack dab in the middle of one’s day and one’s daily life?” – we found ourselves in the thick of a busy lunch hour; people getting sandwiches & coffee, eating and talking, and just milling about. And, with tremendous focus, we somehow managed to effectively carve out a legitimate moment of pause. A good 45 minutes together, in silence, some of us seriously spacing out, eyes open, others half-napping eyes closed… daydreaming, dozing, still. It was blissful.

In the conversation that followed, the participants themselves remarked on the quality of their presence and the fact that being in a group made it more possible to engage – and sustain – this continuous mode of idleness. The collective experience, it would seem, gave us a frame inside which we could enact our moment of quiet together; at once separate individuals, yet sharing a common objective. And, as separate from the bustle in the café around us, we were still very much part a part of the goings-on in this space. This demarcated area of collective rest (we actually were sitting on a slightly elevated stage) deepened a sense of self-awareness (individual & collective) and capacity for abandon… the possibility of just letting go… of responding internally to the waves and rhythms of the café and the shifting pulses of the room with our precise gesture of stillness.