Instagram’s Gorgeous, Immersive Es Devlin Experience Is the Most Powerful Thing You’ll See in Cannes

How we got from cave drawings to Stories

Video: John Tejada; Editor: Breana Mallamaci
Headshot of Kristina Monllos

CANNES, France—Instagram’s Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity experiences are always a festival highlight. Naturally, a company built on promoting visual storytelling excels at doing just that. But this year the company, in partnership with artist and Adweek Creative 100 honoree Es Devlin, produced a truly astounding piece about the history of storytelling.

Starting with cave drawings and coalescing with overlapping Instagram Stories, the short piece not only showcases the multifaceted storytelling taking place on the platform but makes a statement about the power and humanity in it.

Instagram felt Es Devlin was “the right artist who could articulate how we felt about stories and how one story could actually shift how we felt about the entire world,” Kay Hsu global Instagram lead at Facebook Creative Shop explained.

Devlin’s piece puts viewers in the center of the story, seating them in the middle of a room with mirrored walls and projection mapping. As you watch it unfold it is impossible to feel removed from the piece—even if you look to the right or left you’ll see your reflection as you do. That’s likely the point: Storytelling is a necessary part of being human and even if you don’t believe in your story or know how to tell your story it is important and valuable.

It’s easy to think that Instagram Stories is just a platform for people to share things—annoyances, a little moment of joy, whatever it may be—but the experience asks the viewer to consider the larger implications of the platform. The experience also makes you wonder what the collection of those stories will look like years from now.

“Entire cultural shifts can be made just by sharing our story with each other,” explained Hsu. “That’s how we bring communities together, by sharing those stories, passing on those stories and expanding on it to make sure that we’re changing the world.”

@KristinaMonllos Kristina Monllos is a senior editor for Adweek.