Sound in Stone: Day 6

Saturday 4th March 2023

Today we hold our ritual-performance-workshop “Stillicidum: Die Tränen des Steines” in the so-called “Cemetery of Stone Blocks”. Our general goals are to produce a composition of sound and movement where synchronicity emerges rather than being imposed, that we find a way to move and sound together.

Documentation by Vittoria Elena Simone

We ask all those gathered to dress in the colours of rocks, so that we may more closely that the rocks are our kin.

We are interested in the group reflecting on questions like “Are the rocks alive?” and “How do we ask stone for consent?”

Below is the score we performed together.

Quarry Score Altamura 2023


– Hello. Introduce HYENAZ.
– People are going to be recorded, obtain consent, release forms
– We are going to move together, play together. Once we descend into the quarry, we will treat it as a sacred space.
– Phones on silent.

Enter the space

– Clap on 3
– Enter space in silence

Grounding Choreography

– Walk through the space
– Sense the place that is right for you. It will be a feeling that says “this is where I belong”. When you feel this, stop moving.
– Plant your feet firmly
– Stand with your legs hip width apart, arms open, face to the sun
– Imagine a circle of light encircling you.
– If you feel the need to sit or lie down, feel free to do so.
– Count backwards from ten and with each number imagine yourself being pulled into the earth. As each number passes, you are getting deeper and deeper until you are in the centre of the earth.
– Now count from one to ten and find yourself back where you began, but still connected with the centre of the earth.

Deep listening

– Remember to breathe, and let yourself be fully present in the moment. Allow the sounds to guide you to a deeper connection with your soul and the universe around you.
– When I stop talking, listen. Open yourself up to all the sounds, the vibrations, the energies of this space.
– Allow the sounds to vibrate through your being. When you hear a sound, point towards the source of the sound with any part of your body. You can point with your arm, or your nose, or your foot, or your belly.
– Let your intuition guide you to search for a sound that calls to you from farther away. Connect with its energy, and point towards it with a different part of your body.
– Keep listening for sounds further and further away, and each time you hear the sound point with your body.

Mirroring forms

– Find an object nearby that speaks to you.
– Study the object’s shape, texture, and overall essence. Visualize the object in your mind and prepare to transform your body to resemble it.
– Using your entire body, mimic the object’s shape and form. Hold this pose for one minute, allowing your body to fully embody the object.
– Take a moment to observe how you feel as you become one with the object. Pay attention to any sensations or emotions that arise.
– Now, find a partner and make eye contact with them. Rotate your body if necessary to face them directly.
– Observe their current shape and form for 30 seconds, taking note of any unique characteristics or movements.
– Over the next two minutes, slowly transform your body to resemble theirs. Take your time and allow your body to flow and adapt to their form.
– Repeat this process with different objects and partners as desired,
– Repeat?

Consent & Animacy

– Feel the energy between each other as a circle
– Walk around the space and feel yourself drawn to a particular stone within the space.
– Take it to the stone of your choice and see if you can feel energy there
– Can you get in touch with the aliveness of the stone
– Is it saying something to you, is it consenting
– If you hear a message, whisper it to yourself
– Repeat the whisper, make it louder, and bring it to a song

Play the space

a. Different kinds of sounds
– atmospheric sounds
– singing / speech
– found instruments:
– long sounds
– percussive sounds
– resonant sounds
– dull sounds

b. Play and find instruments
– take some time to simply explore and play

c. Make a group composition
– come together and use the tool box to create something together
– remember that there needs to be space for silence
– remember that we are composing together and we don’t need to make sound all the time

Exit the Space

– 1-2-3- clap silence
– Walk out in silence

Donato Laborante. Photo: Vittoria Elena Simone

As we trailed behind the departing cars heading to a group dinner at the residency space, we absorbed the day’s experience. We both feel elated. To be outside, to be with others, to move together is a profound, joyful experience. We were joined by about 12 people, and there was the sense that, some at least, felt profoundly as moved as we did.

We felt truly blessed by the presence of Vittoria Elena Simone, a photographer and videographer who captured beautiful images and helped us to translate key moments in the ritual.

There were limitations as well as disappointments. Some of those gathered did not seem able to fully take part, to let themselves go, to move freely, to sound freely. There are lots of explanations we could give. The cold weather, sandwiched between two formidable rainstorms, could have hindered those gathered from fully enter their bodies as temples of movement and sonic exploration. There were also differences in mobility in the group, some were older and more frail and perhaps did not feel safe or even able to move across the unstable ground with its precipitous and potentially deadly drops.

We had asked everyone to spread out, but the group was too small and the space too vast, causing the energy to dissipate rather than intensify. We wanted a flow between each of us, such that we learned from, gained from, built on the gifts of sound and movement that others were providing. Instead we often felt quite alone in our movement.

In these moments, insecurities crept in. We wanted to lead but not stand out, to not be “performers” with an “audience”. Yet with an inexperienced group the confidence of a leader can inspire othersand light the flame so to speak.

In general, we learned yet again, that not having a dedicated translator nor time for introductions and after care left some of the depth and intimacy missing

Between us as performers, we crave that in future there is more attention to creating and sustaining the magic of the ritual, rather than concerning ourselves over small technical details. If we had an assistant, letting go of such concerns might be easier. We would feel more empowered if we were not carrying bulky equipment at at the same time as we try to lead.

In moving forward, we will take these lessons and experiences with us, seeking to cultivate a space that encourages presence and awareness, power and vulnerability.

A final thought: we couldn’t help but notice the sight of cement in the quarry, lobbed beside the ancient stone. The omnipresence of this substance came up yesterday as well in Gravina and it reminded us to think more deeply about the relation between stone and cement, between deep time and modernity, the dichotomy between these two forms.

Tears in Stone. Photo Vittoria Elena Simone