What do you know about the Democratic Republic of Congo? What does your smartphone have to do with the obscure and faraway conflict that has despaired that country for decades? What are the key minerals and components needed to power your smartphone? How and why are they indispensable? Who is fighting for the control over the mines? Which foreign countries are involved, and why? What does the supply chain look like that brings these minerals from the battlefield to the factory floor to the shops where we buy the finished product?
Seven Grams aims to bring the DRC’s tragedy straight to the smartphone that its mineral resources helped make via a free AR app on both IOS and Android systems. The world’s largest economy, the United States of America, was valued at 21 trillion US dollars in 2018. The total value of the mineral resources still buried in the DRC is estimated at 24 trillion US dollars. So how can it be that the DRC ranks only 176th out of 181 countries on the Human Development Index? For the Congolese people, their country’s wealth in mineral resources has been a curse, not a blessing. The late dictator Mobutu Sese Seko plundered the country so thoroughly that its economy and institutions all but ceased to exist. After he was ousted, Congo became the scene for the most lethal conflict since the Second World War. Meanwhile, other countries helped themselves to Congo’s resources and got rich in the process, largely thanks to the voracious demand of certain minerals necessary for the production of the smartphones and other new technologies that have become part of our daily lives.
Through AR sequences, and an animated film, Seven Grams offers an entirely new way for people to understand the human cost
By visualizing in AR these complex political, economic and electronic processes in Augmented Reality, Seven Grams offers an entirely new way for people to understand the human cost that went into producing their smartphones.