More Slides About Buildings and Food


It's no surprise that PowerPoint can be a tool for expression more creative than a boring business presentation. Indeed, inventive (and often anonymous) examples of PowerPoint art turn up in my e-mail inbox almost every week. Now at least one name artiste is getting in on the action: former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne.

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  1. …and you may ask yourself, what is the meaning of this? And you may ask yourself, what is this about?

    When I first enjoyed the Talking Heads, circa 1979
    David Byrne just seemed to be oozing creativity.
    I guess he never quit.

  2. Some years ago I attended a computer show in Beverly Hills, CA. My tour guide knew someone who was one of the bright lights of the then-incipient Multimedia Revolution. Accordingly, I was ushered into a private suite at the Beverly Hilton, and there they were: three of the fat nabobs of multimedia, sitting around smoking pot and crowing over their ascendency to the heights of the merger of high-tech and art.

    Anyways, hasn’t David Byrne ever heard of Macromedia Director? Sure, it’s neat that he’s using Powerpoint, but, isn’t that just a trick? I mean, everything that PP can do Director can do in spades. And, having written several Xtras (extensions to Director), it can do everything “real” software can do with the proper extensions. Maybe it’s just that he figure he already knows PP and can’t be bothered to learn Director which, frankly, drives “real” programmers like me nutso with all its accumulated features.

  3. It’s always fun to fingerpaint. Sounds to me like there’s a lot of Spam lambs flying around the internet, though.

  4. Lonewacko: Using a business presentation tool like Power Point is a lot more subversive and transgressive than using an all-purpose multimedia tool like Director. Plus, Power Point is ubiquitous and omnipresent in the culture, which allows the artist to re-contextualize and deconstruct the boundaries between “business presentation” and “art”. Transgressively. Trust me, I went to the same art school Byrne did.

  5. Director, even Flash, is much, much more difficult to get working to a level of fluency, than .ppt. .ppt is very easy to learn at a functional level (my 8-year-old’s been doing it without training), which makes it a ready implement for creativity. The ppt editor is also fairly ubiquitous, while the Macromedia tools aren’t, and do have a price tag. Byrne can obviously afford anything, but the point is more ubiquity than individual purchase.

    But Ed Tufte‘s critique of .ppt does a good job of pointing out the tool’s limitations, both formal and also cultural (in terms of the widespread practices of using the damn thing).

    What are the alternatives? The Mac tool is basically the same thing. PDF has some possibilities, once you explore its depths. Phil Greenspun cheerily offers WimpyPoint.

    I’m off to explore using The Brain for presentation, to explore the multilinearity and associative logic which .ppt lacks (one example).

  6. EMAIL:
    DATE: 05/21/2004 06:00:27
    Do give books – religious or otherwise – for Christmas. They’re never fattening, seldom sinful, and permanently personal.

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