Take a rickety timber shack that has seen better days. Stick some mirrors on it. Add a splash of snazzy lights and a handful of custom electronics. And what do you get? An international art phenomenon, that’s what.
Ladies and gentlemen, we invite you to feast your eyes on Lucid Stead, a desert shelter cum art installation that has caused such a stir that it lends new meaning to the term “cabin fever”.
Phillip K. Smith III bought the humble 70-year-old hut – which sits on five acres of sand punctuated by shrubs – back in 2004. The California native and artist then went on to give the cabin a breath-taking makeover, which he unveiled recently.
On the hut’s exterior, Smith strategically attached reflective panels alternating with the rugged wooden planks of the original structure. He also fitted larger mirrors where the windows and doors would be.
By day, the mirrored planks and panels spectacularly reflect the
surrounding craggy landscape and changes in natural light, making the
shelter seem partly transparent and mirage-like. Stunning.
But the superb spectacle doesn't end there. In the windows and doorway,
Smith installed computer-controlled lights that switch on automatically
As the evening sky turns pink and the natural light dims, the square and rectangular zones of red, blue, green and orange begin to glow, the vivid disco light colours in strong contrast with the surrounding scenery.
Smith says: “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.”
Watch the video below in which Phillip K. Smith III describes his Lucid Stead art installation:
The artist also believes the creation takes a certain commitment to appreciate due to its remote location and requires the beholder to participate and engage with the artwork and the surrounding landscape.
Watch the video below which shows Lucid Stead changing as day turns into night:
Lucid Stead was initially planned as an art project lasting just two days and visited, at best, by just a handful of local spectators.
But such was the originality and mind-boggling brilliance of Smith’s desert-based installation, that it rapidly became an internet sensation and must-see attraction for hundreds of art aficionados who travelled thousands of kilometres to witness Lucid Stead in the flesh.
In the end, the installation remained open to the public for a whole fortnight. Ephemeral beauty at its best.
For more information on Phillip K. Smith III and his artwork, please visit his website: http://pks3.com/contact.html.