David Byrne

I [heart] PowerPoint

Date 3/7/05

Affiliation Artist and Musician, New York


PowerPoint, the software application developed by engineers at Microsoft Corporation, has become the ubiquitous standard for presentations on topics ranging from business to academia to charity fund-raising.

The structure and features of PowerPoint were designed assuming a specific world view. The software, by making certain actions easier and more convenient than others tells you how to think as it helps you accomplish your task. Not in an obvious way or in an obnoxious way or even in a scheming way. The biases are almost unintentional; they are natural and well integrated. It is possible that the engineers and designers have no intention of guiding and straightening out your thinking; they simply feel that the assumptions upon which they base their design decisions are the most natural and practical. You are thus subtly indoctrinated into a manner of being and behaving, assuming and acting, that grows on you as you use the program.

Let us imagine, then, that PowerPoint and its attendant softwares are actually a means to a positive emotional and philosophical end, a path towards a goal that is easy to reach and available to all. The billions of people who use it are on their way to happiness, contentment and a feeling of belonging to a society that thinks and feels the same way and shares their values.

"Rather than resist, I decided that I must surrender and learn to use this software myself, for, like everyone, I long to belong. I have along way to go: my presentations are sometimes unclear and confusing. But I have made huge advances and I feel myself more atease with each new presentation." - David Byrne


David Byrne, best known as one of the Talking Heads, has been making visual art for more than 25 years and is represented by Pace/MacGill Gallery in NYC. He has been working with PowerPoint as an art medium for a number of years. What started off as a joke took on a life of its own as Byrne realized he could create moving pieces, despite the limitations of the medium. His new book of artwork done with PowerPoint is "Envisioning Emotional Epistemological Information."

-- As of 3/7/05

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