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“One Damn Slide After Another”: PowerPoint at Every Occasion for Speech : Computational Culture

🔒 computationalculture.net

Wow! This is a tour de force on the evolution and use of slides and presentation software evolution. It’s a long read but pretty interesting and importantly balanced. It is not a takedown of PowerPoint but instead a robust exploration of the act of presenting and persuading.

This essay critically contextualizes PowerPoint. We argue that many of the stylistic conventions associated with slideware have long been part of business communications. Personal computing, however, scaled up the production of presentations. Doing so linked knowledge work with personal expression. The result has been the rise of presentation culture. In an information society, nearly everyone presents. Analyzing presentation software makes visible the largely under-appreciated reliance on performative authority in knowledge production.

The conclusion brings it home. I’ve never thought of PowerPoint as a part of visual culture!

PowerPoint is not a slide projector without a slide tray. It is not a neutral automation of existing processes. It is a part of visual culture, an increasingly everyday experience at every kind of occasion for speech.

Worth reading. Even if you skim sections like I did. 😊

Posted on November 19, 2017

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