Weird Science :: Written Posts

Tech Spinning in the Flow Arts

Last week we talked a bit about the concept of “flow” as it pertains to the Flow Arts. This week we’re going to talk about a concept that is sometimes considered to be the flip side of that coin: tech spinning. This is the place where the geeks and obsessives hang out, so if you’re into math, science, or even just deep rabbit holes, this is the place for you!

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Modek Designs Prop Bag Review

Normally I review props and the like, but there’s a new company that’s started up with a really unique niche. It’s the brainchild of Kassandra Morrison, who’s a super talented hooper and juggler and she’s started a company producing travel bags for props.

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What is Flow?

Flow. It represents both a cornerstone of our art as well as one of its most controversial topics. Though many of us in the Flow Arts hold it as a core value, we frequently disagree on what exactly it means and how relevant it is to what we do. We’re going to talk a little bit about the concept of flow and what it means to us as prop spinning artists.

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Fire Poi at FLAME Festival

This year's FLAME Festival featured an awesome performance stage brought by Incendia and EVOL KID Media featuring an awesome video setup that included a drone! Here's the performance I delivered on that stage Saturday night at FLAME! 

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How to Travel with Fire Props

Fire festival season is officially in swing so I thought I’d share with you what I’ve learned about something that pops up a lot as we’re going from place to place--and that’s how best to fly with your fire props. I've written on this topic before when it comes to poi, but I've learned a lot in the years since that post and can now apply many of those lessons more generally to other tools.

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Fire and Flow Festivals

The Flow Arts are a hobby that most people find to be utterly intoxicating and love to immerse themselves in. One of the ways we explore this art is through weekend-long retreats that happen all over the world, called flow or fire festivals and they represent an important opportunity to connect with a wider community, learn new skills or tools, and contribute to the wider flow arts world.

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How to Host a Spin Jam

Last time we talked about spin jams and why they’re so great at nurturing community. But what if you don’t live in a place that has a regular spin jam? This week, we’ll talk about how you can host one of these wonderful events to your area.

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Spin Jams

One of the biggest reasons people take up the flow arts is the social component--getting to know other people who share the same interest and collaborating, cross-pollenating ideas, or even just hanging out. Today, we’re going to talk a little about spin jams and the role they play in Flow Arts Culture.

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Dancing With Fire

For many of us that practice the Flow Arts, our first introduction to it is via seeing fire performance and being amazed by the beauty and power of it. Today, we’re going to talk about the role of fire in the Flow Arts and how to do it safely.

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A History of the Flow Arts, Part 2

Last week we talked a bit about the history of the different props that have become a part of the Flow Arts world. Today, we’re going to talk about how the Flow Arts emerged from a wide range of diverse sources, including festival culture, philosophy, and the emergence of the internet.

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Flow Festival Life Hacks

Fire Festival season is upon us! Only a few years ago there were merely five events for Flow Artists to attend in the United States. Last year, there were close to fifty!

Festivals are a popular way to connect with other artists, meet your favorite YouTube or Instagram stars, and connect deeply with your artform for the weekend. I’ve traveled to a LOT of festivals in my day and I’d like to share a few of my lessons learned with you guys.

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A History of the Flow Arts, Part 1

Last week we started our discussion of the culture of the Flow Arts by defining the term and placing it in the context of the wider movement arts world. Today, we’re going to be talking about the history of the artform and how it came to be.

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What are the Flow Arts?

For the past 8 years I’ve been a poi spinner and Flow Artist and the experience has absolutely changed my life. I created my YouTube channel to share my love of this art with the world and hopefully introduce new people to it. So, with your indulgence, I’m going to take the next several weeks to talk about this wonderful artform and its place in our modern world.

First, let’s start out by defining the Flow Arts:

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(3)1 day(s) of flow: spring double staff compilation

Back in January, I took on the challenge of posting a video of a new trick to Instagram each and every day for 31 days (the challenge was originally for 30 days, but hey, prime numbers!). This was a fun challenge that really helped to deepen my palette of tricks with double staff and explore in depth a number of concepts that I'd only scratched the surface on or never thought to combine together before.

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How to handle creative plateaus

You’ve been rocking out your prop for weeks or even months. You’ve picked up so many tricks that amaze both you and your friends. You’ve worked hard and have seen so many results from that effort.

But then it all comes to a grinding halt.

Suddenly practice feels like a slog--hard work with little benefit seen. You either can’t find any new tricks you want to learn or those you do seem maddeningly out of reach. Your passion and energy are starting to ebb...it can be only one thing. You’ve hit the dreaded plateau!

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When am I ready to spin fire?

You’ve seen those rock stars out on the burn field, dancing with fire like they were born to it. You’ve gotten ahold of your own tool and you’ve had your first lesson--now the important question: when are you ready to spin fire?

For so many of us, the fire is the hook that draws us in. It is a primal element that makes us stand up and go: Wow, I want to do that! Many of us, when we first light up, want to look like the people who inspired us--spinning effortlessly and beautifully to an adoring crowd.

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Keeping your practice on track with Proxy Goals

“If you want to become a great writer, write every day.”

The origins of this quote are so deeply shrouded in the past for me that I can’t remember where I first heard it. A cursory search suggests that Stephen King may be the source of it, but there’s no way for me to be sure that’s where I first heard it.

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Ghost Trails Part 1: Luminancer

Ghost trails are a great tool for visualizing many of the tricks we play with as flow artists, regardless of the prop. Over the past few years, I've become acquainted with 5 different approaches for creating these trails using video post-production and I'm starting a video series exploring all these options. The first one is the Luminancer app for iOS--a useful app for creating LED or fire trails but one that comes with some pretty severe limitations. See my full video on the topic below:

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MLK Day Flow 2016

My annual tradition returns! Free flowing in Washington, DC's beautiful Dupont Circle park with the fountain behind me as I play around with one-handed flow, dance/poi fusion, and frankly just trying to stay warm! It was 10 degrees out as I spun and the camera kept dying because the batteries wouldn't work in the cold.

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Top 10 Favorite Poi Spinners of 2015 Voting Rundown

When the Top 10 list launched in 2012, it was intended to be a way to celebrate the work of poi spinners all over the world, a method for acknowledging those who'd made an impact in the community. Since then I've come to think of it just as much as a historical document or time capsule of what the poi spinning community was like each year.

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LA Double Style: Collaboration with Casey Houle

Last weekend I was lucky enough to have my path cross a gentleman whose work in the double staff world has been super inspiring to me in the past year. Casey Houle (JaFfi Tech on YouTube) and I ran around LA for a day trading ideas and filming what came out of it. Fun to work with a like mind--check out what we came up with :)

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Profiles in Poi: Zan Moore

Zan Moore is one of the most talented and prolific spinners leading into the social media era of the Flow Arts. He has been a performer, teacher, festival organizer, and driver of ideas and information. In this interview, he shares the stories of his career milestones, how his outlook has changed over the years, and why the flow arts needs dedicated hobbyists.

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Vulcan Tech Gospel (VTG) Explained

Vulcan Tech Gospel is one of the most popular frameworks for understanding prop movement and transitions between tricks. It was created by residents of the Vulcan Lofts in Oakland, CA and has gone on to inspire countless studies, works of art, and even a smart phone app! In an effort to demystify this approach to studying prop movement, I put together this video that includes some awesome computer simulations and visual aids. Please note: this video only just scratches the surface of what's possible!

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Why Teachers will never get a fair wage at Fire Festivals

The flow arts community has seen an explosion in popularity in within the past 5 years and perhaps no metric is more telling of this expansion than the proliferation of festivals devoted to spinning and fire arts. As recently as 5 years ago, there were only 4 options to attend in the United States and this year there were nearly 50. As this aspect of our culture has continued to proliferate, however, it has generated with it a great deal of controversy as to what type of compensation those who contribute to it are entitled to.

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Poi Tutorial: Cateye vs Pendulum

Today's tutorial is on one of the less-performed antibrids, but still a personal favorite of mine: pendulum vs cateye. It's a helpful one to know because it includes transition points to go back and forth between isolation vs cateye, pendulum vs triquetra, and CAP vs pendulum--next week I'll cover the theory behind some of the transitions I use with these moves! 

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