Does PowerPoint make us stupid?

David Byrne, an accomplished composer, photographer and lead singer of Talking Heads, has evolved -- some would say devolved -- into an unlikely artistic medium: PowerPoint.

Best known for vocals in "Psycho Killer" and "Burning Down the House," Byrne originally intended to spoof the ubiquitous software as a dumbed-down form of expression between communication-addled business executives. But after spending several hours designing a mock slide show, Byrne became intrigued. He decided to experiment with PowerPoint as an artistic medium -- and ponder whether it shapes how we talk and think. In his book and DVD compilation, "Envisioning Emotional Epistemological Information," Byrne twists PowerPoint from a marketing tool into a multimedia canvas, pontificating that the software's charts, graphs, bullet points and arrows have changed communication styles.

"I just got carried away and started making stuff," Byrne said. "It communicates within certain limited parameters really well and very easily. The genius of it is that it was designed for any idiot to use. I learned it in a few hours, and that's the idea." The 96-page compilation, which debuted in September for $80, is best described as a coffee table book for nerds. The initial printing run of 1,500 copies sold out by mid-December. The book includes mostly lucid musings on how PowerPoint has ushered in "the end of reason," with pictures of bar charts gone hideously astray, fields of curved arrows that point at nothing, disturbing close-ups of wax hands and eyebrows, and a photo of Dolly the cloned sheep enclosed by punctuation brackets.

News source: CNN

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