Are Atoms Alive?

Lumina Light Festival, Portugal


Storybox was invited to collaborate with Ocubo, to create an installation for the 2017 Lumina Light Festival in Cascais, Portugal. A simple question from a child inspired us, “Mum, are atoms alive?”. With that question in mind we set out to create a work that used scale to explore what it means to be alive. With the art of Len Lye as a style reference, we worked with Ocubo to create a 7 minute film which was projected onto 7 screens across 9 shipping containers. The purpose, to impress and encourage reflection from the audience.

The video takes the audience from the outer reaches of the known universe, to the quantum level of life and back again. Along the way the audience is hurtled from one level of scale to another. Throughout this expedition the viewer questions “What is life?”.

The journey begins in a lab. The audience watches a bumbling scientist approach his microscope. As he leans intently over his work, he is sucked into the microscope and flung to the edges of the universe. From there the journey takes the viewer through the twists and turns of space travel, back to earth, into the cellular structure of nature and eventually back into a lab where the journey of our male scientist has become the observations of an astronomer.

This project is a reflection piece, designed to intrigue the inquisitive mind with questions, without promising any answers. Are Atoms Alive? Take the visual journey to discover the joy in the fact that there is still so many answers to find.

Lumina, Portugal 2017
Fukoka, Japan 2018
Durham Lumiere, UK 2019

Are Atoms Alive?Are Atoms Alive?
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