If you were to go down to your local beach in the morning to catch the sunrise and were confronted with the view below, you might be forgiven for feeling a sense of spirituality. You might even find that elusive thing called calm if you sat on the rocks and meditated taking in this vista.
Rock balancing as opposed to rock stacking is a performance art. Some might even call it devotion. There are many supporters and an equal number of critics of the practice. The geometric shapes and towers created often seem to defy gravity, but it is actually gravity that holds them in place.
The creator of these mystical sculptures goes by the name of Waz’s Weirdworld a.k.a Still RockZ.
You can find him some days creating his stereoliths on the rocks near one of the local tidal pools, surreptitiously decanting from a quart bottle into an innocuous water flask, taking re-hydrating sips after hard lifting.
It can take up to an hour to balance a formation, continually readjusting and aligning centres of gravity. He sees it as taking time out from the hustle and bustle of modern day life, to readjust his own mental balance.
Waz is quite sanguine about the temporal nature of his creations and their susceptibility to the forces of nature, or to “haters” who may destroy them for their own obnoxious reasons.
On social media there are sceptics aplenty, decrying this relatively harmless pursuit. From those who condemn it from a child-safety angle, to those who rebuke the practice from an ecological perspective, lamenting the disruption of the marine life living under the rocks.
However, such critics are predictably mute when it is pointed out to them that life is perilous. Children walking on the rocks could fall and injure themselves. They might get swept off the tidal pool edge at high tide and drown. These nippers could even get hit by a train crossing the unguarded railway lines at this location.
Then there are the eco warriors who complain about disrupting the marine life. They are strangely silent when point out that this is a carbon zero pursuit as opposed to their pursuit of traipsing through the bushveld in a gas guzzling 4×4, all in the name of recreation or tourism. It happens to be perfectly acceptable for them to make a living that way, but lo and behold anyone who innocently places one rock on another. Its a woke old world.
Undaunted by the negativity of the destroyers he returns to restore his own balance and peace of mind.
He will painstakingly select a rock and rotate it in all directions assessing its potential. Sometimes placing it over and over in various positions until it fits delicately into place.
This artform is not for the fainthearted or the unfit. These rocks are no lightweights and require core strength and posture while being placed.
The stability of a rock structure depends on the location of each rock’s center of mass in relation to its support points. If other rocks are also on top or contacting it at any point, then the forces (due to weight) of other rocks also play a role. For an individual rock to be stable, it usually requires at least three contact points to rest on, forming a “tripod.” Generally, the closer together the points in the tripod, the less stable the rock will be (thus making it more precarious, and becoming a rock balance sculpture – and many would argue more beautiful).
The yin and yang of a meditative morning’s sunrise shoot. Yes it has been pointed out to me, by an astute critic of my images, the phallic nature of one of the rock towers and how longingly the maiden is gazing at his prowess.
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