The Art of Gloving
As creatures that experience the world primarily through our sight, illumination is an essential part of our being. Light guides most of our life from start to finish. Throughout study, we’ve learned how light can affect our body and state of mind – those exposed to too little may suffer from seasonal depression and those exposed to certain light patterns may enter a state of hypnosis. Though many of our reactions to variations of light cannot be fully explained, one part is definite: a certain connection exists between our state of being and the type of illumination around us. Therefore, it’s no wonder that gloving, an art form centered around light, has come to be a wide-spread, mystical, and captivating form of entertainment.
For those new to the subject, gloving involves LED lights placed into the fingertips of regular fabric gloves. Most sets have ten – one for each fingertip –, but others leave the thumbs blank or even have lights in the palms of the hand. While worn, the glover moves his hands and fingers along with music in patterns, waves, and positions to create a lightshow. Different techniques and styles will vary from glover to glover. The practice has roots in dance, particularly in forms such as tutting and liquiding, as well as taking moves from the flow arts, such as hoop dancing and poi. These combined and focused (though not isolated) into the movement of hands and fingers result in the new movement of gloving.
Since the gloving culture is so new, very little study has been done on the entrancing effects of lightshows on an individual’s state of mind. However, one only needs to attend a show to see the results first hand. While performing, a glover creates a picture with the patterns of light flowing from their fingertips. As they move, the lights can flow, shake, slow down or speed up, come closer or pull away. While watching someone get a show from a skilled glover and seeing the LEDs illuminate his expression, it is easy to read happiness, surprise, and excitement on his face. From a personal experience, receiving lightshows can appear as a smooth, calming waterfall, a fascinating sphere of glowing lights, or a thrilling flurry of trails when the beat drops. Whatever the direct physical effects that a lightshow may have on a person, it is clear from external signs that they are positive.
Unfortunately, due to some irresponsible actions and an unfair association with drug-use, a shockwave of gloving and LED bans at EDM shows has forced many glovers to leave their set at home. Some have taken to sneaking their set in, only to have them confiscated from security. Because of this restriction of the gloving art, it is important to keep in mind that to preserve that art, show -goers must act responsible. Whether fans of the gloving arts use illicit substances or not, disrupting others and causing a safety hazard damages the scene and leads to gloves being banned. Remember that lying or sitting down while getting a lightshow can be hazardous for yourself and those around you. Some people nearby may not want or respond well to a show and should be respected. Realize that gloving is an art form in and of itself and is independent of drug use! Gloving, like any other art, can express deep emotion and cause a powerful reaction in the observer. Allowing the culture to grow and become even more than it is now will allow for unexpected and incredible sights to behold.
Written By: Kael Parker