There are 94 naturally occuring elements, from hydrogen to plutonium. Together they make up everything in the world.
94 Elements is a global filmmaking project, exploring our lives through the lens of the elements. Everything that surrounds us is made from these 94 building blocks, each with its own properties and personality. Our own bodies are mostly made from just 6 of them.
The stories of the elements are the stories of our own lives. They reveal the patterns of our economies and the state of our relationships with our natural resources. The project is in part a celebration of the art of documentary film and some of the best filmmakers working today are making new films for the project. There'll also be opportunities for talented new and emerging filmmakers and animators to pitch their own films, with the winners chosen by you - the project community.
The Mix Lab is an experimental feature we'll be developing further. Create compounds by combining individual elements and link them to your own films. Explore and discover other user's films by cracking the formulas to their compounds.
The next stage of the project will introduce interactive tools and visualisations around our use of our natural resources. We'll be working with designers, coders, economists and geologists to create a unique perspective on our relationships with our mineral resources.
Prof Andrea Sella
We want to tell the backstories of all the stuff we use in our daily lives - Where does it come from? How is it used? How much is left? Through a playful and creative, multi-faceted project we'll create a unique and intimate picture of our relationships with our resources in the 21st century.
The project is in part motivated by the rate at which we appear to be going through our natural resources. Indium, for example, is used in the manufacture of TVs and probably the computer screen you're reading this on right now. Known deposits could all be used up in 10 years.
It's likely however, that the environmental consequences of the way we extract minerals will catch up with us before we run out of them. More and more energy is required to exploit increasingly poorer deposits. A single Zinc mine in Namibia, for example, currently uses 20% of the entire country's electricity supply.
94 Elements considers our relationships with our stuff. The next stage of the project will use live data from across the web to create a range of interactive tools and visualisations exploring our use and exploitation of the elements - stay tuned!
The Wellcome Trust helped fund the development of this first phase through a People Award. Our partners are The D-Word and we've received invaluable support from the amazing people at The Sheffield Docfest, Protein, and Power to the Pixel. Many other people have given advice and encouragement along the way (you know who you are!) and we want to thank everyone supporting us for their belief in the project.
We're on the lookout for special partners to work with us on the next phase. Please do get in touch if you're be interested in sponsorship - we have some great ideas for ways to get involved - or if you have specialist skills to contribute or simply an amazing idea for a film - we'd love to hear from you.