Phillip K. Smith III’s art installation “Lucid Stead” lighted up the Joshua Tree desert for two weekends in October. The wooden shack, tricked out with mirrored slats and multicolored LEDs, stood alone in a dusty clearing where about 400 people trekked to ogle it.
The shimmering shack lived far longer online, however, where it became an Internet sensation. A video of it garnered more than 300,000 views on lucidstead.com.
Now Smith has been commissioned to produce an even more elaborate light installation at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. The mystery patron behind the artwork, someone with pockets deep enough to fund a project requiring about $800,000 in LEDs alone? Paul Tollett, president of Goldenvoice, the music and events powerhouse and Coachella producer.
The installation, “Refection Field,” will debut at the Coachella festival April 11 in Indio. It will sit in the center of the festival for two weeks as Queens of the Stone Age, Arcade Fire, Pharrell Williams and Lorde rock out nearby.
Other art will be at the festival, but Smith’s “Refection Field” will be the biggest attraction. It’s a natural evolution of “Lucid Stead,” which still stands in the desert but is inactive, minus its LED applications. “Refection Field” is like “Lucid Stead” in that it incorporates mirrors and multicolored light, but its blending of colors is new.
"By day, the free-standing monolithic mirrored volumes are prisms of earth and sky, wrapped by the surrounding environment," Smith says. "By night, they become expansive fields of color that blend and layer through echoes of reflection. Spaces become simultaneously infinite and finite, while hues push and pull, saturating and dissolving the surroundings and your periphery into pure color."
Before Coachella, Smith's smaller-scale works can be seen at the Palm Desert gallery Royale Projects.