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Rock balancing

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Title: Rock balancing  
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Subject: Rock art, Performance art, Rock (geology)
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Rock balancing

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

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

  • 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.
  • Adrian Gray, British artist and photographer, born in Bristol in 1961 and now based in Lyme Regis, Dorset.[1]
  • Michael Grab, balance artist + photographer, born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and presently based in Boulder, Colorado, USA.[2]

Opposition to rock balancing in natural areas

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.[3] 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,[4][5] and some styles of rock balancing are claimed to be short lived.[6] 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.[7]


  1. ^ "Putting a rock in a hard place: Sculptures that require an amazing balancing act". London: Mail Online. October 18, 2011. Retrieved 2013-04-02. 
  2. ^ Krulwich, Robert. "A Very, Very, Very Delicate Balance". 
  3. ^ Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics
  4. ^ Newman, Andy (July 3, 2008). "It’s Not Easy Picking a Path to Enlightenment".  
  5. ^ "The Art of Rock Balancing". 
  6. ^ "Natural Camping & Rock Balancing Photo Gallery". 
  7. ^ National Park Service, Canyonland National Park Utah: Regulations


  • "Perfect Balance" By LUX Magazine 2011
  • "Rock Balancing is both art and advocacy". By Reuters . Philippines. August 2011.
  • "The Art of Rock Balancing". By Jeff Zapanta. Philippines. May 2011.
  • "Care-join-different-kind-rock-group". By KC Santos. Philippines. April 2011.
  • "Rock-balancing-promotes-environmentalism". By KC Santos. Philippines. April 2011.
  • "Stuart Finch - Rock Balancing Act". By Sarah Phelan. Metro Santa Cruz. March 2001.
  • "Lila Higgins' gravity-defying cairns become ephemeral art at Riverside's Division 9 Gallery". The Press-Enterprise. July 21, 2008.
  • "Rock mystery solved". By Sven Herselman. 29 May 2008.
  • "OK, really, how does he do it?" By David Holmstrom. The Christian Science Monitor. December 2, 1999.
  • "It’s Not Easy Picking a Path to Enlightenment". By Andy Newman. New York Times. July 3, 2008.
  • "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.

External links

  • Rock Balancing in worldwide images — photos of all styles and practitioners.
  • Rock Balancing promotes environmentalism — videos.
  • Balancer Simone Saia
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