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Tacit Tactile Thinking


the participant is invited to reflect individually upon their embodied embedded sense of urgency, by identifying where it is located in their body and materialize with a tactile material the participant is then invited to show their artefact to either trainer or group members

as this is an exercise that moves away from word-oriented meaning making and processing, the recommendation is to close the exercise non-verbally after allowing for enough time to really take in the artefacts if a verbal sharing of the individual experience is preferred it is pivotal to allow for sufficient time


this exercise proposes a visualization and materialization of one’s embodied motivation and engagement by imagining the form of the urgency that propels artistic practice or activism and the act of molding a piece of clay into that imagined shape it is manifested as an artefact that one can look at urgency then moves from being an ephemeral embodied phenomenon to something one can take hold of and relate to outside the body

excercise by:
Sandra Lange
est. time:

60 mins


Min 2

tools needed:

a space where participant(s) can quietly be for a while in silence
a piece of clay, or play-doh for each participant
a moment to reconnect with trainer, individual or group optional: a sharing of findings


[Text below to be read by the person in the role of the trainer]

[Exercise begins]

this is an exercise in somatic awareness
this text is read out loud and will guide you toward a request to materialize
the sense of urgency that is located in your body
to materialize the powerful driving force that propels your practice

please come and take a piece of clay
and try to find a position in this space where you can be comfortably
for about ten minutes or so
where you can focus on your body

you may lay down on the floor
or sit with your back against a wall
there is no right or wrong way
as long as you choose a position that suits you and your body

if you have found a position
hold the clay in your hand and direct your attention to it
feel the temperature, the texture of the material
start slowly kneading it
squeezing it
getting a sense of how the material affects you
adjust your body if needed
if you feel you are as comfortable as you are going to be
please bring your attention to your breathing

take a deep breath
and exhale
take another breath of air
and exhale
breathe in
and exhale

and please listen for a moment

bodies process information very differently
there is a myriad of ways in which information can be transferred from one person to the next
yet in most societies
words are considered the most valuable way of expressing one’s thoughts
written words preferably
a verbal articulation of ideas is already considered less than

but the ability to express one’s thoughts through words is not a given for everyone
your thinking might be image based
or your body might integrate information through a sensory driven form of processing
for example
when i am reading a text can strike a deep chord inside
subsequently the information is absorbed fully
it is sown into a quilt of felt knowing
never to be seen or heard of ever again
concepts seem to creatively connect
and are transported from the body to the outer world
as sounds

expressing an experience of wonder

[note for trainer:
the written sounds below are to be read radically slow, taking time before articulate the next sound ]

hjah hjah hjah

these are the sounds of experiences on their way to language Unterwegs zur Sprache, according to Heidegger
op weg naar taal
one would say in my mother tongue

so how can embodied embedded knowledge be excavated? hmmmmm
by putting it into action
imagine what the body knows

imagine its form, texture, size, and weight and let it take it shape
through the clay or play-doh

in my body
the sense of urgency
that propels my practice
is firmly lodged in my abdomen
it’s green
and crescent shaped
its sharp edges are pointing towards my hips heavy
like an arch, it forms a sturdy ceiling
that consists of two parts
that can be separated
in one sudden move, if need be

announces itself
through a sudden shifting of weight
the ceiling of my stomach falls to the proverbial floor

immediately after that
a line is drawn simultaneously on either side of my body from the outside of my shoulders
alongside the outer edges of my nipples
toward my knees
and rapidly moving to my ankles

I didn’t know what my sense of urgency looked like
until i started to imagine it and wrote it down so I could share it with you (all)
i have come to see the value
of these moments
moments when there are no words
moments where my vocabulary remains firmly lodged on the tip of my tongue and there is a newfound awareness of the presence of knowledge
a tacit knowing

where is the urge to make things happen located in your body? do you know?
think about it for a moment
imagine what your body knows
imagine the form of the urgency that drives you
even when you question it from time to time
acknowledge the presence and power of your personal drive and let it take a shape
imagine its color
texture size sound temperature and weight

where do you hold urgency in your body? how is a sense of urgency embodied?
the urgency to create change
to start a revolution
to build an artistic practice
to keep coming together in hopes of change and how does this urgency propel your practice?

where is communication lost
between the location of urgency in the body
and words?
or images?
what enters these gaps?
where does this supposed miscommunication, mistranslation help? where does it hurt? forgive? forget?
how can you keep a connection going with what drives you?

please take the next five minutes
to see if you can become aware of where your sense of urgency is located in your body
if you are able to, mold the shape of it using the piece of clay or play-doh
in this task tactile process trumps product

[after the five minutes are up instruct participant to exhibit their artefact in the space, allow for time to take in all the different artefacts and a non-verbal moment to reconnect with trainer, individual or group or the optional verbal sharing of findings]