What you’re looking at is a QR code. Anyone familiar with these would immediately recognize that it is unlike all other such codes – a distinction which will be explained shortly. They have become prolific in marketing campaigns because they allow smart phone users to point their camera at the code then get a quick response (QR) that usually takes them to a website with further information without having to remember or type in a long URL. It can also be used to share contact info on business cards, encode some bit of text, and much more. Those unfamiliar with QR codes can think of it as a souped-up bar code.
In thinking about applications for MetaV, I thought about ways to crunch huge amounts of information into smaller spaces so that a “big picture” is readily apparent while still making it possible to get further details on demand. While this illustration is not built directly using the MetaV database, is does represent this vision rather well.
I wanted to find a way to use this technology to bring people information about God rather than some product or service I’m trying to sell. An easy way to do this would be to encode a URL to some Bible passage. YouVersion.com uses this principle in its Facebook sharing tool, for instance. One could create a collection of these codes about a particular topic, but how might you arrange those codes in a meaningful way that represents the over-arching concept?
The answer I arrived at was the three level QR Code, above. The first level is a code that simply returns the text “God.” The second level, shown in the colored squares which are normally solid squares that serve as alignment markers, represents the three persons of the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The third level is the area with the smallest squares which again are usually a solid color arranged according to normal QR code specifications. These individual squares return 129 different Bible passages that tell us more about each person of the Trinity, the relationships between them, and our relationship to God.
Beyond the directly encoded text, this work is a sort of metaphor for the Trinity and the Bible itself. The allusion to the Trinity is obvious from the fact that three different levels of the code are used to represent a single Godhead. The parallel with the Bible is a bit more subtle, but just as relevant. Taken on the whole, everyone knows the Bible speaks of God. One has to get just a little deeper to know that it’s talking about a Triune God. Go deeper with your study to discover more details in specific passages. Another interesting aspect of QR Codes that they have in common with the Bible is the “error-correction” properties of it. What this means is that some portion of it can be destroyed or be otherwise unreadable and yet the overall code retains its message accurately. When we compare Scripture with Scripture, unclear or isolated portions become understandable when put within the greater context.
I would encourage anyone with a mobile device capable of reading QR codes (all you need is a decent camera and a free scanner app) to play around with this. It works best with low glare and low ambient lighting, as demonstrated in the video below. You can also get this as a poster to put up in areas where tech-savvy people may take a second glance to dive into it and hopefully learn more about who God is.
Note: QR Code is a registered trademark of Denso Wave Incorporated in the following countries: Japan, United States of America, Australia and Europe.