Sunday, March 02, 2008

The geek fad straight from Germany: PowerPoint Karaoke

From the Boston Globe: "Slide Show"

If you've never heard of PowerPoint Karaoke, that probably means you're neither German nor a hardcore techie. The phenomenon has been spreading geek to geekand conference to conference since it was invented by a German artists' group in 2005. PowerPoint Karaoke sessions have been held at last year's E-Tech conference in San Diego, the Chaos Conference in Berlin, and at smaller tech gatherings in Los Angeles, London, and Montreal.

In a typical event, a few brave people volunteer to "present" a random deck of slides pulled off the Web, or borrowed from friends or employers. ... The audience laughs, cheers, and yells out suggestions as the presenters gamely struggle to link one slide to the next, transforming something that probably started life as a tedious corporate monologue into a five-minute flight of creative irony.


Some karaoke slides are pure cliche. ("We offer a wide range of solutions!") Others, taken out of context, feel purely, startlingly random. A chest X-ray. The planet Earth surrounded by cartoon heads. And who thought it was a good idea to superimpose an image of Sony's AIBO toy robot dog over pages from a Dick and Jane-type storybook? And more importantly, what do you say if you're confronted by that slide? (One presenter's take: "Sony AIBO: The Greatest Threat to Humanity Yet!")
For the chest X-ray, I would have quipped: "Now let's get to the heart of the matter."

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