Definition of Flow Art
Definition of Flow Art
” The information in this post has been shared with met through discussions with fire artists living in Thailand, and from some of the original flow artists who travelled, learned and contributed to the creation and growth of fire art as a global practice. Much of this history and knowledge was generously shared with me by the artists at Samui Circus Studio. This post is my way of gathering their knowledge for others to learn the history of the practice in Thailand, as well as the meanings and benefits that people draw from it. “
Dr. Tiffany Pollock is a researcher based in Canada. Her work has looked at how performers use dance, music and arts practices as forms of activism, identity creation and as platforms that allow them negotiate the complexities of their lived experiences. She is particularly interested in how communities form through particular arts practices, and how belonging, inclusion and exclusion are created and contested. She has worked with communities involved in many diverse forms of artistry such as fire art, salsa dance, Inuit drumming and throating singing, hip hop (MCing and breaking), among others.
Definition Flow Art :
Flow art centers on finding a rhythmic “flow” with different pieces of equipment, and draws on a range of culturally-specific art forms such as Maori poi traditions and Hawai’ian Hula dance. Some of the original flow artists from the 1980s explained that as young backpackers they learned these practices from the countries and cultures they visited, and then taught them to each other. It is difficult to say how these forms blended together to create “flow art” – which now has a branch called fire art – but it truly is a global practice that also has roots in circus artsand juggling, a practice that dates back to ancient Egypt.
Flow Art Fire Dance :
On the islands, these pieces of equipment are sometimes lit on fire which creates the beautiful designs as fire artists dance and move with their equipment such as poi, hoops , fans, chains, staffs and many others. Most fire artists are also adept jugglers and entertainers, and practice other skills such as tight rope walking and acrobatics which can be woven in to their elaborate shows.
Benefits of Flow Art :
The important thing to know about flow art is that it is a practice that everyone can learn and enjoy, and which has important benefits such as: increased concentration; coordination; making new friends; learning about your body; enjoyment of moving to music; and the experience of “flow.” Flow art gets its name from the concept of “flow,” coined by the psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in his book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience (1990).
“Flow” is a highly-focused state that one reaches when they are fully engaged and absorbed by an activity. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi thought that reaching a “state of flow” was incredibly beneficial for people and that they are most fulfilled and happy when in such a state. Because of the concentration needed to do flow art, reaching this state of concentrated enjoyment happens regularly, and fire artists often speak about the enjoyment and benefits this practice has for them. In a similar way that meditation can help center the mind and provide calmness, so too can doing flow and fire art.
Flow Art in Thailand :
Flow art became established in Thailand as a community practice, that grew as people shared their knowledge with others. Santichaiprarkan Park in Bangkok was hub for its establishment, but over the years this community has dispersed. Read more about the History of Fire Art in Thailand Here.
Samui Circus Studio is one such place that seeks to be a hub for artists to grow, learn and share with each other. It is a space for a community of artists – beginners, students, teachers and advanced artists – from all over the world to come together and share this art form and its benefits.