Some Lithic Attunement Exercises

Anna Maria Orrù, Maja Kuzmanovic & Nik Gaffney

Engaging with geological entities and glacial timescales, blurring binary divisions between nature and culture, human and non-human, life and death.

These practices are part of FoAM’s Crafts of Noticing. By conducting the exercises, practitioners can acquire embodied insights into Performing the Unknown and Dwelling on Rocks.

These exercises probe the relationships between you and your geological surroundings – rocks, stones, minerals, the stuff of mountains, beaches, and tectonic plates. The lithic exists in many forms, mostly stable and immobile on a human scale. And yet, the processes that formed the terrestrial rocks – sedimentation, crystallisation and metamorphosis – are all but static, when observed from a geological timeframe. Pressure and heat fluctuate over time, leaving marks of change in the lithic matter. Can you slow down enough to notice the traces of these (violent) shifts in the Earth’s crust? Where is the lithic matter in your surroundings and in what form? How does your relationship to the lithic change when you pay attention?

The intention of the exercises is to use, train, and heighten your senses in relation to (what is considered to be) inanimate matter, the bones of the Earth. Our emphasis is on the practice rather than working toward any specific goals. Repeat the process as often as you like, to refine and deepen your practice.

A break in the pattern. A snarl in the weft. There are things you should be noticing, here. Things that are missing, and conspicuous by their absence.

N.K. Jemisin, The Broken Earth Trilogy

When conducting these exercises...

Awaken your beginner's mind — See the world as if for the first time.
Be attentive — Cultivate an attentiveness to the out-side.
Play — Be willing to explore like a child.
Foster imagination — Notice what futures might lie ahead.

Related practices:
1000 Portals