Still Making Sense

Via The Daily Telegraph

By The Daily Telegraph

Same as he ever was? Not likely. David Byrne, the '80s pop icon, has returned to his roots. The Talking Heads frontman, best known for big suits and anthemic songs, has gone back to graphic design and he's collaborating with Microsoft?

Hardly burning down the house, is it? And the result is the imaginatively titled Envisioning Emotional Epistemological Information.

Who would have thought you could use Microsoft applications as creative expression? "It started as a parody. I was doing mock sell presentations, using mock PowerPoint slides as visual aids," says David. "But then it evolved into something else. It was no longer enough to make fun of the corporate stuff. I realised PowerPoint was a limited but a valid medium."

EEEI is a boxed set containing a 96-page book and a DVD featuring 20 minutes of animation where the singer subjects PowerPoint's uninventive graphic templates to extreme transformations. Arrows curve out of their trajectory and into psychedelic rainbow-coloured circles, surreal bar-charts with unusually shaped indicators morph into slides that present indescribable abstractions with straight-faced certainty and deadpan photographs of everyday objects. A little help from PowerPoint and this ends up looking like a corporate sales conference.

"Although I began by making fun of the medium, I soon realised I could actually create things that were beautiful," he says. "The pieces became like short films: some were sweet, some were scary and some were mysterious. I discovered I could make works that were about...something beyond themselves."

And although David is now comfortably acquainted with the corporate giant's business application, he still thinks like a rock star and artist. "Corporate culture," he says wistfully. "What if I could set it free?"

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