Project Goals


Part of the appeal of poi spinning is its potential to be utilized as a tool for achieving a higher level of consciousness and a focusing of inner awareness. According to G.I. Gurdjieff, we are stuck in a loop of automatism. Our body unconsciously cycles through daily movements in the same way the movements of our emotions and mind have become mechanical. To combat this Gurdjieff created a system of “sacred movements” which utilize non-habitual motions to break these cycles. Poi spinning shares the same catalog of techniques as those practiced in Gurdjieff’s sacred movements: polyrhythms, new postures and transitions between them, and full integration of the mind, body, and spirit. As a tool for breaking these mechanical tendencies and altering the associative processes of thinking and feeling, poi spinning opens new neuropathways and bridges the two hemispheres of the brain.

Furthermore, Gurdjieff proposed that we exist amidst three worlds– “the outer world”, the impressions received outside of our bodies, visual and tangible, invisible and intangible; “the inner world”, the automatic flowing and functioning of the organism; and “the world”, the totality of the functioning and the connection between the outer and inner worlds, yet a world on its own, dependent on neither. It is in the formation of these three worlds that the key to attaining “the world” lies, for the first two worlds are formed on their own, while the third is formed exclusively by the intentional connection of the functions of the first two. This intentional connection is created by stopping the flow of unconscious thought and achieving complete concentration of the mind, thinking only of what one wants to think of. In doing this one can learn to think without distraction, and to subordinate the unconscious psychic processes. Essentially, through this kind of focused attention one can achieve complete concentration, and through this concentration one can achieve being in the “moment”, or being in a “trance”, or in Gurdjieffian terms, “the world.”

The Orbitar, through a combination of non-habitual movements and the triggering of audio cues via voice and hand controls, requires attention free of distraction, allowing complete concentration of the mind as described by Gurdjieff. By using a fully immersive, multi sensory tool, the Orbitarist may begin to see the oscillation between the outer world and the inner world, giving him/her an understanding of how to blend the two.


Because we relate to the outside world through our senses, the Orbitar is an ideal vehicle for bridging the gap between the inner and outer worlds due to its rich connection to multiple senses. The Orbitar generates data on the movement of the Orbitar satellites as extensions of our body, and that data can in turn be represented as an audio score. Thus, by mapping the relationship of movement to sound we can map the relationship of movement to the world outside of ourselves. In order to document this relationship I will create a new system of notation for pieces composed with the Orbitar. I also plan to create an interactive digital player which will give users the ability to operate the Orbitar system virtually. This will allow for greater exploration of its compositional potential, and also visually layout the connections between body, satellite, and the audio waveform.


The three major artistic goals of the Orbitar are to create a fully immersive multimedia musical instrument, to reconnect the powerful ancient Maori traditions with the future of poi spinning, and to creating a unique form of performance art.
The Orbitar is the first musical instrument of its kind. Fully immersive, multimedia, and multi-sensory, it allows users to make contact with music in unprecedented form. Completely customizable to suit each individual, controlled by voice, touch, and movement, Orbitarists experience music in 3-dimensions, through mind, body, and spirit. The addition of control via voice connects the Orbitar to the ancient Maori tradition in which poi spinning was executed to specific poi songs, or paitere, composed by the Maori women. The poi would be sent on an imaginary journey around the events and details of the composition, accompanied by dance and singing of the composition. The Orbitar brings this powerful ritual into the technological era, giving performers the ability to express their own paitere with precision and grace, creating a unique performance and musical composition with every spin.


The Orbitar can be used for:
- Physical and mental rehabilitation/therapy/self-improvement via the techniques described in the theoretical goals section
- Recreation
- Performance art
- Creating musical compositions in a non-traditional manner