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Ars Ordo

18 Feb

resolving conflicts, status play

Ars ordo is a meta technique usable for working with status relations and resolving conflicts without stuntfighting or violence. The base of ars ordo is to focus on eye contact as the central tool for establishing a status hierarchy. The technique has three levels of escalation.

1) Eye contact: when two characters gains eye contact a status fight occurs. The one who breaks the eye contact looses and accepts the others dominance in the hierarchy. These short status fights will occur often.

2) Physique: if no one breaks the eye contact the status fight escalates. The players will try to look as threatening as possible to get the opponent to submit, while still keeping eye contact.

3) Sound: if the fight is not resolved at this point the players can use screaming and shouting to get the opponent to submit.

4) Movement: If none of the players has accepted dominance at this point, the players begin to move around, while yelling/screaming/insulting the other part.  If no one submits during this phase, the other players will decide who is the winner by standing behind the one they support.

5) Outcome: As the status fight escalates it will probably gain the attention of other players, thus making the fight a public matter. The further a player escalates a status fight, the further is the fall if she looses, as the group notices. The player losing will have to mimic the escalating level in his or hers lose. So at level one it is nothing more than lowering ones eyes, but in number two it is a physical acceptance of lose. Four might be whimpering or a lot of I am sorry. Level four is with everything physique, sound and movement and if it comes to the tribe is involved, everybody on the losing side has to somehow acknowledged the lose.


The exercise ends when the group has tried out full scale escalation a few times.

Notes on facilitation
It is important to emphasize that the most interesting part of ars ordo is in the level 1 interaction as the status game through eye contact creates an opportunity to constantly have small status changes in the group.