Flow Arts In The Rave Scene: More Than Just Gloving
I talk about gloving. A lot. I drop references to gloves or gloving in probably four out of five of every one of my articles. I’ve even devoted full articles to gloving, from Insomniac’s irrational ban on gloves, to light show etiquette. But light shows and flow art has grown to encompass so much more than just gloving.
Gloving has been around for quite some time, but recently, other forms of flow art have been making their way into the scene.
Most ravers know what gloving is, but we want to give a short introduction about the other flow art mediums.
Orbits involve an illumined LED wheel on a long cord that is held with both hands. The orbit spins quickly on the cord when the orbit is manipulated. An orbital light show was actually one of the coolest light shows I’ve ever gotten, the patterns and light trails are unlike anything else that I’ve ever seen. Orbits’ small size makes them easy to carry around festival grounds.
Hula-hoops may have been a fun childhood pastime, but in the world of LED lights and neon colors, they have become a new rave staple. A LED hula hoop is mesmerizing and allows the artist to use their entire body while performing. Unlike your childhood hula hoop, flow art hula hoops aren’t restricted to your waist.
Space whips contain long LED fibers that emit different colored lights. Unlike gloves, poi and orbits, the lights on space whips are diffused throughout the entire strand, resulting in a softer luminescence.
The space whip fibers can be quite long, but when twirled and manipulated correctly, space whips create visual flow art that is impossible to stop watching.
Poi originated as an (occasionally pyrotechnic) Maori performance art but over the years, the plain white ball-ends have been swapped out for the twenty-first century LED version.
Poi as flow art is much faster than gloving and hooping and involves swinging two poi balls around the performer. Poi can be quite challenging, but if you can keep the strings untangled, the results are breathtaking.
You cannot quantify one type of flow art over another. Gloving isn’t better than orbiting. Poi isn’t more complicated than hula-hooping. All of these different types of flow art are unique and beautiful in their own ways and all of them demand a high level of skill.