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Powerpoint is a scourge on our economy
December 3, 2011 7:19 PM   Subscribe

A modest proposal to replace Powerpoint presentations with dancers. (TED talk) Demonstrated with dancers, naturally.
posted by dry white toast (21 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Dance Your Ph.D.
posted by Blasdelb at 7:32 PM on December 3, 2011


TED2012's submission deadline is Monday
posted by jeffburdges at 7:33 PM on December 3, 2011


Honestly, I can't think of a more appropriate melding of TED's themes.
posted by dry white toast at 8:19 PM on December 3, 2011


*Sits back munching potatoe chips while watching*

"What the...! These aren't potatoe chips!!!"

"NOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooooo! nom nom nom nooooooooooooooooooooooooo!"
posted by Knigel at 8:20 PM on December 3, 2011


This is where the concept of "mashup" actually produces something of merit.
posted by tomswift at 8:26 PM on December 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


To pour a little cold water on an intriguing idea, what is to guarantee the quality of the presentation dance is any better that the PowerPoint it replaces? I suspect interpretative dance is just as resistant to abuse as PowerPoint is.

Also, a PowerPoint requires a little electricity and some drive space. Provisioning for dancers, even bad one, I suspect, is slightly more difficult.
posted by Samizdata at 9:05 PM on December 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


Sounds cost effective.
posted by delmoi at 9:49 PM on December 3, 2011


I honestly don't see how this idea has any merit at all. During the entire demonstration of the laser example, I was just thinking, 'this would be so much easier to understand with a little animation of photons and atoms rather than these human-shaped, physically limited approximations.' I agree with his point that explanations are better when more visual and less verbal, but I feel like using dancers is completely the wrong direction. Plus, if you want to talk about wasted time, I guarantee an animator could put together a nice little show in a fraction of the time it took that whole troupe of dancers to learn that routine.
posted by Hargrimm at 10:20 PM on December 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Plus, if you want to talk about wasted time, I guarantee an animator could put together a nice little show in a fraction of the time it took that whole troupe of dancers to learn that routine.
See the New York Ballet perform the modern classic "Ted Jumped the shark, like, three years ago"
posted by delmoi at 10:28 PM on December 3, 2011


Well I liked it. Taken literally it's batshitinsane, but there's no denying the incredible waste of time spent creating and presenting PowerPoint decks. If I had $1 for every "you probably can't see this at the back, but…" comment during a presentation I've seen since I started working, I wouldn't be worrying about looking for a new job at the moment.
posted by TheDonF at 10:50 PM on December 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Kick ass quote: Science is the the defeat of intuition through experimentation
posted by AndrewKemendo at 11:40 PM on December 3, 2011


Kind of ironic from a organization dedicated to posting static, nearly-impossible-to-watch videos of droning talking heads to the web, when a written transcript would be ten thousand times easier to digest and more appropriate to the medium.
posted by drjimmy11 at 12:34 AM on December 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


One shudders to imagine the Powerpoint presentation that was used to pitch investors on a new idea called Powerpoint.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:49 AM on December 4, 2011


I appreciated the artistic aspects of this, utility and cost be damned. I believe the concept of 'a modest proposal' hints at some amount of antiutilitarian humor.
posted by Capybara at 5:40 AM on December 4, 2011


Some advantages of the dancers:

- their lamps don't burn out
- they don't need a special little adapter to hook up something to something else
- they don't die when someone trips over the power cord they don't have
- they don't randomly freeze and turn blue
- they don't randomly freeze, turn blue and then start all over again except that the second time they go through at super high speed until you get back to where you were.
- they don't accidentally go forwards, backwards or skip around
- they don't have to cancel if someone forgot to bring the PC
- they don't have to shrink themselves super tiny and force the audience to gather in a big group around them because the projector doesn't work and the speaker insists on doing his presentation on his 13" portable.
- they don't make whirring sounds when cooling down that drown out the speaker
- their brains don't run different versions of software that cause them not to speak to one another.
- they don't require the use of function keys that no one can remember
- they don't require the presenter to say "hopefully this will work"
- they don't need you to get a password from tech support because some frickin' idiot changed it on the PC in the conference room and you have five minutes to set the godamn thing up before the meeting except that it's lunch time and no one is at the help desk.
posted by storybored at 8:13 AM on December 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


Kind of ironic from a organization dedicated to posting static, nearly-impossible-to-watch videos of droning talking heads to the web, when a written transcript would be ten thousand times easier to digest and more appropriate to the medium.

Are you referring to TEDx specifically here? Are they a separate organization? (I'm a bit confused because TED proper does have transcripts, in lots of languages, with sentence-by-sentence links back into the video.)
posted by stebulus at 8:59 AM on December 4, 2011


Great post, by the way, DWT, I love the finale. Thanks for this.
posted by storybored at 9:09 AM on December 4, 2011


I feel that a number of commenters, both here and on Youtube, missed the point.
posted by Auguris at 12:27 PM on December 4, 2011


Come on guys, have a little imagination. Interpretive dance as a way to explain ideas is fun and easy.

For the types of presentations he is talking about - 4 people, 30 minutes - only one dancer is needed. This is the presenter. Sure it would take the presenter a bit more time to prepare the material (since she needs to rehearse and remember her talking points), but she could prep with little drama.

The technique she would probably use most often is the invisible whiteboard. I do this interpretive dance myself at work very frequently. This works well for trends on a graph and software architecture diagrams. The presenter lays out the components on the invisible whiteboard with her hands, then sweeps to connect them or indicate trends. The invisible whiteboard must be very large for the movements to be dance-like. Smaller whiteboards lead to pantomime.

Even pantomime though is better than a PowerPoint slide - it's a global presentation interface that crosses language boundaries.
posted by crazycanuck at 4:45 PM on December 4, 2011


Is this the point?
posted by scalefree at 5:05 PM on December 4, 2011


- they don't need a special little adapter to hook up something to something else
- they don't randomly freeze and turn blue
- they don't accidentally go forwards, backwards or skip around
- their brains don't run different versions of software that cause them not to speak to one another
- they don't require the presenter to say "hopefully this will work"

posted by erniepan at 1:36 AM on December 5, 2011


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