We’re not the first ones to see PowerPoint – and its slideshow sisters, like Keynote – as a medium of artistic expression, not just a format for lecture slides. Our favorite interpretation is PowerPoint karaoke, an event that combines improv comedy with storytelling talent. Also known as battledecks, this sport invites participants to deliver a presentation based on an unfamiliar slide deck. We do a mini version during our Test Kitchen workshops, and it’s an incredible opportunity to spark spontaneous, hilarious thinking. (Here’s a copy of the 5-slide deck we use. Participants aren’t allowed to see the slides in advance; they are surprised as they advance each one!) We’ve downloaded decks online (many folks share them – search for PowerPoint Karaoke decks) but have also enjoyed making our own, sometimes in languages other than English or with indecipherable (or blank) charts.
We’re also inspired by the artists who use the Microsoft Office suite as a medium for visual, not performance, art. David Byrne published an entire book using the visual language of PowerPoint (Envisioning Emotional Epistemological Information, image at middle right) and the artist Danielle Aubert published a collection of Excel art (16 Months Worth of Drawing Exercises in Microsoft Excel), image at bottom right.