03: Trusting the Process and Open-Ended
Why or when does the working process move into the focus of artistic work? The process is equally important or even more important than its outcome, if
- art is a means of communication. It enables people to get in touch, to share experience, knowledge, sensual experience.
- art is social practice. It is not only interpretation, but – and above all – action. It moves from the symbolic level to the 'real'; social practice takes the place of interpretation and critique of the social.
- art is democratic and polyphonic. The boundaries between artists and non-artists are broken down. Everyone is involved in an open-ended process; all participants can have a significant say in the decision-making processes and courses of action.
- art creates shimmering interstices, situations and temporary social spaces that set people in motion.
- art gives people a voice, makes conflicting positions public and visible.
In order to make all the above possible, successful work processes are needed, and to arrive at these, in turn, requires a knowledge of group pedagogy. A few essential considerations are outlined below.
Theme-centered interaction analysis (TCI) assumes that every group process is determined by three factors:
- the I and its behaviors, feelings, thoughts and impulses
- the we, which is the group. It is determined by the following factors: Collaboration, communication, decision-making, prestige and power, love and relationships, roles, competition, misunderstandings and conflicts
- the subject, which is the content of the work
This means that in any group work situation, attention must be paid to these three levels. Each I, i.e. each group member, sets impulses to which all others react and hence influences the group climate. In turn, the group climate affects the individual. In addition, Ruth Cohn (the founder of TCI) states that interruptions and disagreements must always be given priority when working with a group, because they will eventually force their way to the fore anyway. Therefore, all levels must be addressed consistently.
Moreover, when it comes to the group, one should keep in mind what is known of group dynamics: This means that every group working together for a longer period of time will go through different phases:
- Orientation phase: people try to get to know each other, harboring fears but also curiosity and joyful anticipation.
- Conflict phase: one perceives the differences in the group. Opinions, expectations, etc. collide. No team spirit is felt yet and a common ground has to be found.
- Consolidation phase: Group norms and unwritten rules manifest about how the group functions, which are shared by all. The group feels like a group.
- Collaboration phase: At this stage the collaboration is going well.
- Dissolution phase
Groups can go through a phase again and again.
How much these stages come into play is determined by the leadership style. Again, there are three predominantattributes.
- Authoritarian leadership style: the leadership determines clearly by themselves and does not involve other participants. Thus group structures develop, if at all, only under the surface. A special form, which artists often love, is the charismatic leadership style. https://greator.com/autoritaerer-fuehrungsstil/
- Cooperative leadership style: A cooperative relationship and constructive criticism exist. Everyone can use his or her competencies. For this to be possible, there needs to be a good dynamic within the group. This is the ideal leadership style for process-oriented work. https://www.bwl-lexikon.de
- Laissez faire leadership style: There is no leadership, everyone acts according to their own assessment. This often causes negative group dynamics, great conflicts and insecurities. https://studyflix.de/jobs/karriere-tipps/laissez-faire-fuehrungsstil-4563
Art as a social practice and as a space of possibility requires a good group climate. Only then one can also enter into an open-ended process. (Maset, 1995) The artists are responsible for impulses and for a structure that is open to all. They must be able to deal with group processes, and moreover, to offer protection to the individual member of the group if necessary. Once this is established, everyone can trustfully immerse themselves in a process where one impulse results in another one, one step leads to the next step, and so on. The artists are companions. As such, they are part of and do not have priority over the process.