Elements: oxygen

In advance of the upcoming Elements event at Wellcome Collection I spent an hour filming the brilliant Dr Andrea Sella (one of the event’s curators) as he gave me a tour of some of the elements in question. I’ll be sharing these on the blog over the next week or so, but you can also see all of them on our YouTube channel. It was a fun shoot, following him as he demonstrated experiments and bits of lab kit. There was a small fiery explosion, liquid nitrogen, clouds of purple iodine and more. I also get an inadvertent cameo role as he naughtily wore reflective glasses for the oxygen section, which I spotted too late.

In this first one, he shows us how oxygen will be turned from a gas into a liquid for use at the event (which has to happen behind the scenes on the night for health and safety reasons), and reveals its unusual colour. I had NO idea that this was what oxygen looked like.

Elements presents a world of immersive chemical performance, ingestion, activity and intrigue across all four floors of Wellcome Collection on Friday 8 April, 19.00–23.00.

Seeing Myself See: Filming the event

It’s always a pleasure to cover an event with such a strong visual element; it makes the job of the filmmaker so much easier. Seeing Myself See had bright lights and bees, beautiful wooden instruments and crystallised bee flights – which not only looked great on camera, but were also clearly fascinating to the audience on the day. It was also very noisy, in the best possible way, so slightly less of a joy to edit it all together, but still fun.

The event was a very playful occasion that encouraged interaction as well as introspection, the idea being that people become more aware of the way in which they “see” the world. There was a particular focus on “sensory substitution”, replacing one sense with another. With the Seeing Instruments the colours of the user’s clothes were translated into music, whereas in the Mind Chair shapes are turned into touch.

My personal highlight, though, was the Bee Matrix. Whilst it definitely gave an insight into bee behaviour, what struck me most was the way in which it was developed in collaboration with primary school children and yet was producing genuinely novel scientific data – a potentially very interesting model for science education. It was also a success in keeping the bees contained, though I’m informed our thorough Events team had already appointed a “bee catcher” in the event of an escape when the box was opened to restock the “flowers”. Apparently they do stop flying in the dark so the lights are switched off during this process, but you can never bee too careful. (Sorry).

Watch the video to find out more, and don’t forget there are more on our YouTube channel. Subscribe to our channel to keep up to date with new films.

Pressure Drop: Underneath the Arches

In the second of our two clips from the Pressure Drop rehearsals, Nana (played by June Watson) and Ron (Pip Donaghy) share a musical moment in the church.

Pressure Drop: Reunited at the Brit

In this first of two clips from the Pressure Drop rehearsals, John (played by Justin Salinger) is reunited with his brother Jack (Michael Gould) and old friend Tony (David Kennedy) at the Brit pub, as they reminisce about the old days.