Cultured Carrots: Rucyl Mills and the Sound of Solarby Carrot
Carrot Creative is filled with colorful characters. Cultured Carrots is a series that shares the outside passions that inspire the very best work for our clients. This week, we travel to Colombia with Senior Producer Rucyl Mills to get a glimpse at her most recent art installation. It utilizes the power of the sun and made a whole lot of people’s day a lot brighter.
Carrot: What is your background in art?
Rucyl Mills: I've been making art since as far as I can remember, mostly sound and music based. Most recently interaction design has crept into my projects. I have been in a few bands over the years, starting with alternative hip-hop, moving into soul and jazz, and currently I'm focused on experimental electronic. I've also done a couple residencies, built a wearable midi controller, and I've have had the opportunity to collaborate and learn from some really amazing artists.
C: What kind of pieces do you like to create?
R: I'm most interested in the process part of making art - my goal is to always capture the feeling of what I was experiencing at the time of creation in the piece. Most of my current work is emotive, meditative and vibrational. With electronic music especially, it's an interesting challenge to replicate the studio process in a live performance setting.
C: You went to Colombia for your most recent project. What was the piece you were working on there?
R: The piece was a collaboration with Justin Downs called Sound Prism - a solar powered sonic performance exploring sound as a physical representation of the transmutation of organic energy. It was a series of seven solar-powered speaker systems that emitted tones from a 7 note scale tuned to the frequency of the basic colors in the visual spectrum. You can interact with each speaker by blocking the sun's rays to create distortion in the sound, or stop the sound altogether.
C: What about Colombia was great for this project?
R: We were at a farm/school in the mountains called Organizmo that specializes in teaching green and indigenous building techniques. We wanted to build a piece that was fitting for the environment, and solar energy was a perfect power source.
C: Did you get to see a lot of the country?
R: I traveled to the neighboring towns and drank from a waterfall, but in general I was super content to stay in the valley and play with electronics for two weeks.
C: What do you hope people will take away from this piece?
R: We wanted to bring awareness to the simplicity and ease of using the sun as a power source. It just makes sense. We left the speaker systems there for them to continue to use. Each system has a audio jack - so you can grab one and go wander anywhere on the farm and plug in your phone or an mp3 player to listen to your music - all powered by the sun.
C: What do you like about the convergence of art and technology?
R: Technology allows you to accentuate the narrative of your work and can make it accessible in ways we were previously unable to do. If you can use tech in a simple and efficient way, it becomes magic. In my opinion, the narrative, story and soul of a project should always take center stage - not the tech. I consider technology to be an adjective adding glitter to the central character.
C: Have you gotten the chance to do anything similar to this and/or are you planning to again in the future?
R: Yes, we're planning to make a large scale version next year and install it here in NYC!
C: Anything else you want to say?
You can learn more about the project here: http://soundprism.tumblr.com