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Voyages Along the Star Paths: Capturing Calendrical Cycles from Kauai to Bali

Systems for the representation of temporal cycles play a vital role in all cultures, but they seldom figure prominently in studies of heritage. Anthropologists are often frustrated by he lumping together and dismissal of nonwestern concepts of time as merely “cyclical time”, interpreted as changelessness or the absence of progress.

Here we compare two of the most complex and sophisticated calendrical systems known to anthropology, from the islands of Bali and Hawaii. The sheer complexity of these concepts and their intimate relationship to astronomical phenomena make them very difficult to compare using the scholar’s traditional toolkit of text and images. But they are admirably suited to immersive digital media. As well as facilitating descriptive exposition, real-time computer animation, music programming and other digital technology opens new avenues for research on the relationship of the abstract structure of calendrical systems to polyrhythms in music and other aspects of the phenomenology of time consciousness.


V. Sorensen, S. Lansing, N. Thumannapalli, Voyages Along the Star Paths: Capturing Calendrical Cycles from Kauai to Bali, In:  International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, Cham: Springer International Publishing, (2021) 296-317.

Vibeke Sorensen

J. Stephen Lansing

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