While researching the history of PowerPoint I stumbled across this absolute gem of an article on David Byrne’s presentation on PowerPoint at the 2005 Art, Technology, and Culture Colloquium at UC Berkeley. This quote from the article ties in well with our discussions on limitations, freedom, and creativity in the context of presentation in the previous two posts. "When you pick up a pencil you know what you're getting — you don't think, 'I wish this could write in a million colors,'" says Byrne. Here are a few more quotes from the Berkeley article:
"I love not having an unlimited palette. In that sense it's like a pencil. You don't expect to have other typefaces or fonts; you have fun with what's there. Freedom — who needs it?"
In the UC Berkeley article Byrne admits that most PowerPoint presentations are often filled with irrelevant, gaudy, and vacuous graphics that take the place of actual content. But, says Byrne:
“You can't blame it on PowerPoint. …You see it on the TV news, everything's filled with graphics and icons — it has the illusion of content but there's very little being communicated."
Byrne admits that the limitations of the PowerPoint tool can lead to pretty awful stuff visually, but that it’s constraints can also lead to creative and compelling visual displays as well. Byrne published and expensive art book called Envisioning Emotional Epistemological Information in 2003 to mixed reviews. If nothing else, Byrne’s approach to using PowerPoint may help some look at the tool in new ways.
• NPR: David Byrne's PowerPoint Art (with audio interview)
• Does PowerPoint make us stupid? David Byrne turns PowerPoint into art
• Wired Magazine: Learning to love Powerpoint
• Wired Magazine: Turning heads with PowerPoint
• Cheese Bikini on Byrne's 2005 Berkeley talk
• David Byrne's website