Item description for David Byrne: E.E.E.I. (Envisioning Emotional Epistemological Information) by David Byrne...
For more than a year David Byrne has been employing the ubiquitous sales and presentation program PowerPoint as an art medium. E.E.E.I (Envisioning Emotional Epistemological Information) is a book of images and essays, plus a DVD which plays 5 of his PowerPoint presentations accompanied by original music. The book component contains a dozen new exploratory texts and a whole lot of bold, graphic images created with the help of PowerPoint's built-in tools and visuals--not to mention the fun of plastic overlays and nifty foldout pages. And you may ask yourself, what is the meaning of this? And you may ask yourself, what is this about? It is about taking subjective, even emotional, information and presenting it in a familiar audiovisual form--using a medium in a way that is different, and possibly better, than what was intended. It is about appropriating a contemporary, corporate staple and making something critical, beautiful and humorous with it.
Outline David Byrne is the only rocker who could have imagined turning Microsoft PowerPoint into an art form. When Time put Byrne on the cover in 1986, the title was aptly, "Rock's Renaissance Man." Indeed, the one-time lead singer/architect of The Talking Heads composes operas, symphonies, and soundtracks, made a film (True Stories), and was a wunderkind video artist and designer (Time even let Byrne create his cover). Byrne's oddly-titled 2003 coffee table book ("epistemological" is a philological look at the origin, methods, and limits of human knowledge) is new version of mixed media, a rough dissertation on a visual, universal language. Bryne mixes the familiar images of a PowerPoint presentation out of the norm, be it a complicated flow chart or altered icons. The message is blurred at times (as with the title, big words prevail), but the project takes a fuller form on the accompanying DVD that's region-free with NTSC and PAL formats, making it playable practically around the world. The five presentations (approximately 25 minutes in all) are accompanied by original musical compositions. Byrne plays the usual patterns of PowerPoint--overlays, swipes, and fades--resulting in an intriguing art exhibition that could even play on a laptop computer with DVD-ROM drive. The least interesting chapter of the book ("Physiognomies") is the most moving piece on the DVD. The final result could be considered art, or just a high-minded swipe at the "Dilbert" office world that uses the program. Regardless, E.E.E.I. is a unique concept one might have to "stop making sense" and just enjoy the experience. --Doug Thomas
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Reviews - What do customers think about David Byrne: E.E.E.I. (Envisioning Emotional Epistemological Information)?
Art Can Happen Aug 29, 2007
David Byrne's E.E.E.I. is a prime example that art can happen in the most surprising places and with the most surprising tools. It's a delight to see something as ubiquitous and utilitarian as Powerpoint employed as a personal medium. Byrne takes this humble, low level technology and infuses it with wit and sophistication. The short (think haiku) but sweet DVD suite is also surprisingly subtle and intimate when viewed on a desktop monitor. The same can be said of the companion book. It's a work of art, a collector's item, and a clever little meditation on the ambiguities of our culture's evolving soup of language, images, technology, and communication. As with most art, some will love it or hate it, but it's worth the leap and look (and a listen to a little more of Byrne's musical imagination).
silly Jun 13, 2005
E.E.E.I. is simply silly - the man is a legend, in person on-stage he can move audiences even when they do not speak english (I saw him in Rio and he lit the place up!) but he is no philosopher, this book is a read/watch one time and file in the round bin
David Byrne loves PowerPoint Mar 4, 2005
....or maybe not...
Less than a week before embarking on a coast to coast dozen or so cities PowerPoint lecture tour, Byrne did three nights of his rock n roll show at the Warfield in SF, which in turn was on the heels of two weeks of the same in Australia. This mind bending energy may be final proof of the rumor that David Byrne is, in fact, a nuclear powered android after all.
The PowerPoint presentation has nothing to do with his rock musician persona. In this role (and there is, indeed a theatrical aspect to it), he plays a much more professorial/academic character, beginning by showing how PowerPoint has all kinds of oddball graphics, etc. pre-loaded into the program("for what???"). During the event, he also discusses that renown PowerPoint critic Edward Tufte makes the argument that the whole thing dumbs down the users and receivers of the program. One of Byrne's messages, to the extent there are any, seems to be that PowerPoint is symptomatic of the superficiality that is passed off as substance in just about every aspect of society today (Ashley Simpson on SNL anyone?).
After the one hour session, he takes audience questions, and delves into some pretty heavy philosophical, and maybe even metaphysical areas. Asked who his target audience was when he came up w/ the idea of doing the PowerPoint thing to begin with, he said "art crowds much like I would expect most of you are, yet, interestingly, it got the unlikely attention of CNN, The Wall Street Journal, Wired magazine, New Yorker, etc. who asked the question 'HE'S DOING WHAT???'"
As to Byrne going around the country showing how he's basically subverted what was intended to be a very linear, business type program, it arguably fits in with his career long insult of, and disdain for, multi national corporations. One thing is for certain: he must truly be laughing all the way to the bank as he undoubtedly pockets a handsome fee per 2 hour session from doing nothing other than playing around with, and poking fun at PowerPoint.
Stay tuned for more irony from David Byrne.
Disappointed Mar 25, 2004
Unnecessarily heavy paper and binding. Way overpriced.
The CD/DVD does not run, and there is no way to troubleshoot or replace it.
I was looking forward to seeing this, but now feel like I was sold snake oil.
It's not just for business anymore... Mar 21, 2004
Ok, first off honesty and self-debasement: I bought this work mostly because it has David Byrne's name on it. Now I feel better, and can continue.
There's obviously more to this book and DVD than simply "David Byrne" - there's a sorely needed look at just how some of the simplest and most seemingly benign aspects of our lives can inculcate us into a certain manner of being or indoctrinate us into a specific world view. We often use tools and or processes as if on auto-pilot and the nuances escape like nibbling gerbils in a shoebox. That is the basic underlying theme of this work, regardless of one's opinion of the artwork or the, what seems to be, over emphasis on a Microsoft product.
Byrne says as much in the book's "exegesis": Microsoft Powerpoint, through the use of such make-it-as-easy-as-possible tools - "wizards" or "auto content managers" - has the ability to sink into our daily lives and affect our behavior and opinions on things if used uncautiously (really, like anything else in the world). On the flip - and far less pernicious - side, such tools can be downright fun to play with if one lets themselves go and thinks of the tool outside of its original purpose. So, again, in the "exegesis", Byrne makes an assumption: Powerpoint is a means of expression much in the way that finger paints, clay, or crayons are. He assumes that Powerpoint can be utilized as an art form. In this way the software takes on a new life, and forces someone to look at it in an entirely new way. It's not just for boring business presentations anymore! Wake up, people, it's fun!!
All of the above is not readily apparent if one dives into the accompanying DVD tabula rasa. At first sight, one is bound to find the work frivolous and maybe even juvenille or pretentious. At the very least these pieces will probably evoke the typical question of "why?" The answer to this useful interrogative word is that these pieces are not meant as ends unto themselves, but as processes, as ways of evoking new ways of thinking about something most of us take for granted. By the very asking a new way of thinking can open up. So, whether or not one appreciates these pieces as works of art is probably not the point of this project. Seeing everyday things in a new and playful way is probably more on cue than any pure aesthetic or artistic endeavors.
I'll admit straight out that this book and DVD has influenced the way I look at Powerpoint. Being one of the few survivors of the recent Information Systems employment slaughter, I use Powerpoint frequently and witness the Powerpoint presentations of others a little too frequently. The other day I actually sat down and played with Powerpoint. It was fun, I almost hate to admit it. I sent my work to some co-workers and asked them to "be ready to present on this 7am Monday morning". Of course it was all nonsense in Spanish, English, French, and Japanese complete with unconnected twirling and dissolving pictures and meaningless pulsating charts and graphs. I'm not sure what my co-workers thought of it, but I had fun.
There's more to this work than a glance can capture. Deep down there's mostly fun and a new perspective that can be applied to all avenues of one's mundane business life and software.