Joshua Tree’s Colorfully Reflective Desert Shack
On the weekend of October 12th in Joshua Tree, California, artist Phillip K Smith III revealed his light based project, Lucid Stead. What was expected to be a two day event for a handful of viewers, turned into over 400 people making the journey over two weekends. People as far away as New York City and Canada traveled to the California High Desert to experience it. Numerous media sources have asked to do cover stories on the work. Thousands of photos professional and amateur, were taken, posted and shared across blogs and social media sights. In just over 30 days, Lucid Stead officially became a phenomenon.
Composed of mirror, LED lighting, custom built electronic equipment and Arduino programming amalgamated with a preexisting structure, this architectural intervention, at first, seems alien in context to the bleak landscape. Upon further viewing, Lucid Stead imposes a delirious, almost spiritual experience. Like the enveloping vista that changes hue as time passes, Lucid Stead transforms. In daylight the 70 year old homesteader shack, that serves as the armature of the piece, reflects and refracts the surrounding terrain like a mirage or an hallucination. As the sun tucks behind the mountains, slowly shifting, geometric color fields emerge until they hover in the desolate darkness. This transformation also adapts personal perception, realigning one’s sensory priorities. A heightened awareness of solitude and the measured pace of the environment is realized.
Smith states, “Lucid Stead is about tapping into the quiet and the pace of change of the desert. When you slow down and align yourself with the desert, the project begins to unfold before you. It reveals that it is about light and shadow, reflected light, projected light, and change.”