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Theses

Art-Based Resonance at Work

Abstract : This PhD thesis is the record of an exemplary Art-based research project, which was critically informed by Hartmut Rosa’s theory of Resonance. The researched’s relatedness to and with work and their work situation was investigated.The research was conducted at a Dutch government institution with a work environment where relatedness to work has become problematic due to extensive bureaucratization, the black-boxing of work processes, the organization being understaffed and underfunded, employees being overworked resulting in above-average levels of sick leave, with signs of burnout. An investigation to see if art-based research can stimulate relatedness among the workforce, addressing some of the above-mentioned issues had urgence.The Art-based research within this project was inspired and based on the Art-based research projects conducted by Shaun McNiff, Chris Kuiper and Philippe Mairesse; in each of these projects the use of artistic elements was crucial to establishing relatedness and dialogue. In Kuiper’s research it enabled the researched to talk about their work situation; in the research by Mairesse, it allowed for subtle power structures in discourse to become visible and addressable. Unlike Kuiper (who made use of an external artist) and Mairesse (who constructed a participatory installation), I interviewed, analysed, painted and organized the feedback meetings. Resonance is Rosa’s reaction to his earlier research on Accelerationism wherein he states that social processes are perpetually increasing in speed and in frequency, meanwhile natural resources and natural processes like time and gravity remain constant and nature therefore cannot keep up with society, and that this inevitably leads to crisis. Rosa states that the society cannot be slowed, halted or stopped for this will lead to collapse, but he theorizes that an increase of awareness and relatedness within key processes could possibly reduce or prevent crisis. He calls his theory of correctional relatedness Resonance. I identified Resonance as crucial to the situation of the researched, but I have been disappointed by Rosa’s seeming inability to convincingly implement Resonance empirically and have seen this as a goal for my research.I interacted with two groups, each of five participants: individually interviewing them, analyzing the interview results, on the basis of the results making five paintings per cohort, displaying the paintings in individual feedback sessions and studying the results of those sessions. The paintings were pinned to the group and not to the particular individual. The two groups (one called Red, one Green) fulfill different roles in the organization; Red is much more turned outwardly to social injustices and Green is more internally focused to policy development. Not surprisingly the two groups of paintings are quite different. I submit that this is a successful art-based research project. As desired the researched were more open and reflexive in the feedback sessions in relationship to the art. The role of the artist-researcher can be positively maintained on the basis of this exploratory work.Although exploratory, the project, while underlining its relevance, questions Rosa's resonance theory. It attempted an empirical exploration that Rosa did not provide. Certainly, the project makes evident the lack of resonance in the Dutch government institution (the last Dutch government fell partly due to the breakdown/lack of relatedness with its subjects). But it shows that if you theorise too much about resonance, you lose the possibility of getting into resonance. Resonance is always relational, always in empirical concreteness, something with which the abstract and general theory of resonance itself fails to resonate.
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https://tel.archives-ouvertes.fr/tel-03464405
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Submitted on : Friday, December 3, 2021 - 11:07:15 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, April 28, 2022 - 9:44:21 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Friday, March 4, 2022 - 6:51:33 PM

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Terrence Letiche. Art-Based Resonance at Work. Business administration. Université Paris-Saclay, 2021. English. ⟨NNT : 2021UPASI005⟩. ⟨tel-03464405⟩

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