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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.
- Balanced stacking – rocks lain flat upon each other to great height
- Counterbalance – lower rocks depend on the weight of upper rocks to maintain balance
- Free style – mixture of the two above; may include arches and sandstone
- Pure balance – each rock in near-point balance
- Adrian Gray, UK artist specialising in stone balancing sculptures and photography.
- Andy Goldsworthy, an influential artist working in the field, for whom rock balancing is a minor subset of his "Collaborations With Nature".
- Bill Dan, an American artist.
- 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, U.S.
- Richard Roy, Indian artist based in Fort collins, Colorado who is famous for balancing rocks at the Horsetooth reservoir.
The Rock Stacking World Championship is an annual event held in Llano, Texas. Competition events include: Height, Balance, Arches, and Artistic.Grenwelge Park, on the banks of the Llano River, one block from the historic downtown district, is the site of the World Rock Stacking Competition, as part of the Llano Earth Art Fest held in March. (LlanoEarthArtFest.org and Llano Earth Art Fest on Facebook).Rock balancing is also played as game in some parts of Nepal, where players make a balancing tower of flat rocks and adds round at the top.
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. 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, and some styles of rock balancing are claimed to be short lived. However, "Disturbing or collecting natural features (plants, rocks, etc.) is prohibited" in U.S. national parks, as these very acts may harm the flora and fauna dependent on them. In some areas cairns, which are stacked rocks, are used to mark trails. A large section of the Chilkoot Trail in Skagway, Alaska, uses these exclusively.
- Krulwich, Robert. "A Very, Very, Very Delicate Balance".
- "Home – Leave No Trace". lnt.org. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
- Newman, Andy (July 3, 2008). "It’s Not Easy Picking a Path to Enlightenment". The New York Times.
- "The Art of Rock Balancing".
- "Park Regulations – Canyonlands National Park (U.S. National Park Service)". nps.gov. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
- "Rock Balancing is both art and advocacy". By Reuters . Philippines. August 2011.
- "Care-join-different-kind-rock-group". By KC Santos. Philippines. April 2011.
- "Stuart Finch – Rock Balancing Act". By Sarah Phelan. Metro Santa Cruz. March 2001.
- "OK, really, how does he do it?" By David Holmstrom. The Christian Science Monitor. December 2, 1999.
- "Man sets 'em up, physics does the rest". By Gary Warth North. (San Diego) County Times. September 29, 1996.
- "Partners' Beach Works Strike a Balance Between Art, Nature". By Len Hall. Los Angeles Times. November 18, 1994.
- "Gilles Charrot – L'homme qui murmure a l'oreille des pierres" Martine Schnoering. September 15, 2009.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Rock balancing.|
- Rock Balancing in worldwide images – photos of all styles and practitioners.
- Rock Balancing promotes environmentalism – videos.
- Links + google map to a worldwide community of rock balancers – Explore more rock balancers around the world.
- Llano Earth Art Fest – Rock balancing event