94 Elements Plus


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94 Elements is a new web-based global filmmaking project, exploring our lives through the lens of the elements. Become part of the project now at indiegogo.com/94elements

There are 94 naturally occurring elements, from Hydrogen to Plutonium. Together they make up everything in the world. The stories of the elements are intimately connected to the stories of our own lives. Everything we use and create is made from them. Our own bodies are mostly made from just 6 of the elements. They affect our lives in countless ways, and their stories reveal our relationship with our resources and the patterns of our economies. They are the untold stories of our physical existence.

The project is creating a collection of unique human stories by award-winning filmmakers and the best emerging filmmaking talent about the endless ways the elements touch our daily lives. Each filmmaker will create an authored 4-7 minute film around a way we extract or use one element. The films are surprising and moving human stories involving the elements – this is not about science, but about our human relationships with our natural resources.

Funded by the Wellcome Trust, the project has produced new films with Sundance-winner Nino Kirtadze and BAFTA-winner Marc Isaacs, and we have Oscar nominees lined up to make the next films. As part of the project launch we're running 2 pitch competitions for any filmmaker to win an $8000 commission to make a new film for the project.

The project is motivated by the speed at which we're using up our mineral resources. The phone in your pocket contains over 40 different elements and will probably end up in landfill. The element Indium used in the phone’s screen and probably the display you're reading this on right now, could all be used up in 10 years.

The costs of exploiting ever poorer deposits are becoming ever greater, with a single Zinc Mine in Namibia using 20% of the entire country’s electricity supply. To accompany the films we’re creating a dynamic digital platform for the project to explore our complex relationships with our resources. Working with the award-winning design studio Catalogtree, the platform will combine Twitter streams and live commodity prices for each element with resource mapping features using geological and commodity data from the UN and US Geological Survey to create a unique visualisation of our daily interactions with our mineral resources.

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  1. steve o'hagan