Working only with rocks, gravity, and patience, artist Michael Grab (previously) builds precarious towers and bridges that seem to defy gravity. Grab first tried stone balancing during the summer of 2008 while exploring Boulder Creek in Boulder, Colorado, and quickly discovered an innate ability to build increasingly complicated, free standing stacks of rocks. While his stone sculptures rely heavily on intuition and experience, there’s actually a method he uses in most of his work involving hidden “tripods” found on the surface of any rock. He shares in detail:
Balance requires a minimum of three contact points. Luckily, every rock is covered in a variety of tiny to large indentations that can act as a natural tripo for the rock to stand upright, or in most orientations you can think of with other rocks. By paying close attention to the vibrations of the rocks, you will start to feel even the smallest “clicks” as the notches of the rocks are moving over one another. In the finest “point-balances,” these clicks can be felt on a scale smaller than millimeters, and in rare cases can even go undetected, in which case intuition and experience become quite useful.
You can watch the video above to see Grab at work over the last year, and also see more photography of his stone balancing in his online portfolio or on Facebook. Grab survives mostly off print sales, so if you’re in need of a fancy new calendar for 2015, he’s got you covered.
When you first begin watching this clip from Japan’s Kamiwaza 2013 talent show, you’ll notice a fair amount of dramatic lighting, deep breathing, and plenty of showmanship from Swiss performer Mädir Eugster of the Rigolo Swiss Nouveau Cirque. He carefully rests the feather on a small tree branch and then grabs another slightly larger stick and another and another. Fast forward ten minutes and the act miraculously continues, sweat pouring from the top of Eugster’s head down his bare back until a series of 14 enormous sticks zig zags from the performer’s lifted arm like a massive wooden Calder mobile. If you have any doubt of how precarious this might be, wait until the very end when he removes the feather. I’ve also included another video above of Lara Jacobs (Eugster’s daughter!) of Cirque Du Soleil’s Amaluna performing the same act. Pretty amazing.
Land artist Michael Grab creates astonishing towers and orbs of balanced rocks using little more than patience and an astonishing sense of balance. Grab says the art of stone balancing has been practiced by various cultures around the world for centuries and that he personally finds the process of balancing to be therapeutic and meditative.
Over the past few years of practicing rock balance, simple curiosity has evolved into therapeutic ritual, ultimately nurturing meditative presence, mental well-being, and artistry of design. Alongside the art, setting rocks into balance has also become a way of showing appreciation, offering thanksgiving, and inducing meditation. Through manipulation of gravitational threads, the ancient stones become a poetic dance of form and energy, birth and death, perfection and imperfection.
Almost all of the works you see here were completed this fall in locations around Boulder, Colorado. You can see much more in his portfolio as well as several videos of him working over on YouTube.
Whoa. I have no idea what this is, suffice to say, I want one. Balance Study is a video by Jacob Tonski that studies balance filmed from a fixed horizon. Tonski says the project began as a metaphor for the disorienting experience of art graduate school. (via trendbehere)