Rock balancing

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Rock balancing (Counterbalance)

Rock balancing is an art, discipline, or hobby (depending upon the intent of the practitioner) in which rocks are balanced on top of one another in various positions. There are no tricks involved to aid in the balancing, such as adhesives, wires, supports, or rings.

Modes of rock balancing[edit]

Rock balancing can be a performance art, a spectacle, or a devotion, depending upon the interpretation by its audience. Essentially, it involves placing some combination of rock or stone in arrangements which require patience and sensitivity to generate, and which appear to be physically impossible while actually being only highly improbable. The rock balancer may work for free or for pay, as an individual or in a group, and their intents and the audiences' interpretations may vary given the situation or the venue.

Styles of rock balancing[edit]

  • Pure balance - each rock in near-point balance
  • Counterbalance - lower rocks depend on the weight of upper rocks to maintain balance
  • Balanced stacking - rocks lain flat upon each other to great height
  • Free style - mixture of the two above; may include arches and sandstone.

Notable rock balance artists[edit]

  • Bill Dan, an American artist.
  • Andy Goldsworthy, an influential artist working in the field, for whom rock balancing is a minor subset of his "Collaborations With Nature".
  • Dave Gorman, British TV and radio comedian took up rock balancing after meeting Bill Dan in San Francisco.
  • Michael Grab, balance artist + photographer, born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and presently based in Boulder, Colorado, USA.[1]

Rock balancing events[edit]

The Rock Stacking World Championship is an annual event held in Llano, Texas. Competition events include: Height, Balance, Arches, and Artistic.

Opposition to rock balancing in natural areas[edit]

Some visitors to natural areas who wish to experience nature in its undisturbed state object to this practice, especially when it intrudes on public spaces such as national parks, national forests and state parks.[2] The practice of rock balancing is claimed to be able to be made without changes to nature; reputed environmental artist Lila Higgings defended it as compatible with Leave-no-trace ideals if rocks are used without impacting wildlife and are later returned to their original places,[3][4] and some styles of rock balancing are claimed to be short lived.[5] However, "Disturbing or collecting natural features (plants, rocks, etc.) is prohibited" in US national parks, as these very acts may harm the flora and fauna dependent on them.[6]



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