Rock balancing  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

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.

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Modes of rock balancing

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

  • 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

  • Adrian Gray, British artist with work predominantly in sculpture and photography based on the natural world of balance. website
  • Bill Dan, a San Francisco immigrant artist who is helping popularize the art in the U.S. (and around the world).
  • 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.

Opposition to rock balancing in natural areas

Many 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, However, "Disturbing or collecting natural features (plants, rocks, etc.) is prohibited" in National Parks, as these very acts may harm the flora and fauna dependent on them.

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Rock balancing" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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