‘Lucid Stead’ In The Quiet Desert

Published:  December 13, 2013

Buried deep in California’s Mojave desert, Lucid Stead is an installation by California-based artist Phillip K Smith III. Using mirrors, LED lights, custom-built electronics, solar power and an Arduino board, the artist has transformed a pre-existing homestead into a visually sublime landmark that reflects and refracts the immense stillness and isolation that is characteristic of the Mojave.

Throughout the day, the mirrored panels create the illusion of gaps in the homestead’s façade, reflecting the open plains, surrounding mountains and extensive blue skies above this stretch of  desert, close to the Joshua Tree. At dusk, the windows and doorway project intense hues that gradually change throughout the night. White light is projected from inside the homestead, encasing the structure in vivid panels that reveal, through silhouette, the diagonally braced two-by-fours used to construct the 70-year-old building.

Lucid Stead is about tapping into the quiet and the pace of change of the desert,” says Smith. “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.

“One might see blue, red, and yellow… and continue to see those colours. But looking down and walking 10 feet to a new location reveals that the windows are now orange, purple and green… Through the process of slowing down and opening yourself to the quiet, only then can you really see and hear in ways that you normally could not.”


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