John Hegarty’s presentation at Cannes was reproduced by the BBH web team as a video embedded in a screen surrounded by data generated, say the BBH team through “relevant keyword searches from across the web as you watch the speech.” The BBH Labs team call the technology Vidazzl, a name that gives a sense of its mix of spectacle, engagement and being overwhelmed.
This experimental approach may mark new relationship between images and text. The question is what is “relevant”? When we see an image of The Beatles what can the pulled data reveal that will add to my understanding of the speech, or the image?
Does this extra information give greater context or does it make the experience more random? Adverblog judged that, “using Vidazzl makes for an interesting if slightly “split-minds” experience. I found it a lot easier to interact with search results during the music bit at the beginning.” Then again while presentations of words and image such as Powerpoint bludgeon consciousness with direct detail, Vidazzl is more like a wash for your subconscious as the info floats by. It’s either an incredibly powerful communication tool or a solution to Attention Deficit Disorder. Or both.
Images give focus. Surrounding images with search-generated information doesn’t necessarily give more relevant context when the information isn’t directed. It’s an issue print designers have long wrangled with in designing magazine covers. We are at an interesting moment when there are more possibilities for blending imagery and words in new experiences, and BBH Labs is a useful experiment in provoking new thinking about how we are now processing visual and textual information.
Images without text; stock photos from Image Source.