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Mindful : October 2014
Working with light, space, form, and color, American artist Phillip K. Smith creates simple yet complex interactive objects of contemplation and transformation. Phillip K. Smith grew up in the deser t, an environment that inspired Lucid Stead, his light- based ar t installation in the Mojave. Smith added mirrors to the exterior of a 70-year-old homestead cabin then added lit-from-within LED panels as door and window openings. His mirror and light-clad shack reflects the deser t’s eerie, silent, landscape—ghostly by day, stunning at night. “The deser t is so power ful,” he says, “so it fully involves and reflects it.” The audience for Lucid Stead experienced just being there. “People became ver y conscious of their sur- roundings and hyper-aware of the quiet,” says Smith. For his newest project, Reflection Field, the ar tist took the luminescent, mirrored Seeing the Power of Transformation Society is changing. Same- sex marriage is now legal in 19 states, and the U.S . gov- ernment has prohibited job bias against transgendered government workers. Larry Yang, a gay man of color and meditation teacher, is part of that change. He co- hosted a three-day retreat at the Garrison Institute in New York State earlier this year, the third in a series of identity- based events for the LGBTIQ community. The event has drawn people who are orienta- tion, ethnically, and racially diverse. As the number of participants who are gender non-conforming grew almost 20% this year, a trans teacher helped lead the weekend. “It’s important to frame that our freedom to be ourselves is not dependent on external conditions,” Yang says. “Even the work toward social justice, as good and as needed as that work is, our freedom isn’t dependent on the outcome of those conditions. Justice and freedom are distinct. And when you work towards justice from a place of freedom it’s so much easier.” The retreat invites people to speak and meditate in their own tradition. Attorney Anurag Gupta, who counts himself as part of the queer community, was impressed that teachers shared past experience with discrimina- tion. It allowed the partici- pants the courage to open up. “The application of mindful- ness helped,” he says. “Being with the sensations, emotions, thoughts, and perceptions that come in when discussing these things.” ● Welcoming Diversity OVERHEARD “We make love of ourselves perfect, not ourselves perfect; this is an important distinction. When I look back on my life, the moments I needed love the most were the times when I felt the most unlovable. So, what if you cared for yourself like you take care of the ones you love? Like that, just loving them, even when/if they’re grouchy, sensitive, uptight, tired. Because it’s easy to love somebody when they’re being lovable—that ain’t love, that’s common sense.” Vinny Ferraro, Senior Trainer, Mindfulness Schools panels from Lucid Stead and tripled their size, creating a 21st - c entur y version of Stone- henge at Coachella, the music festival in Indio, California. “I dropped this ver y quiet, contemplative piece into this huge gathering,” he says. “It allowed these moments where someone may have been sur- rounded by 10,000 people, but if they just looked up they could see the reflection of clouds and sunset moving across these mirrors, and feel alone. It also became a place to hang out, like a lounge, in the evening when the lights came on.” ● To see more photos of Phillip K. Smith’s work, visit mindful.org/ desertart PHOTOGRAPHS:LUCIDSTEADBYSTEVENKINGPHOTOGRAPHY,REFLECTIONFIELDBYLANCEGERBER,ALLCOURTESYOFROYALEPROJECTS:CONTEMPORARYART,ROYALEPROJECTS.COM 16 mindful October 2014 now