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David Byrne: E.E.E.I. (Envisioning Emotional Epistemological Information) Hardcover – August 1, 2003

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Steidl/Pace/MacGill Gallery; Har/Cdr edition (August 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3882439076
  • ISBN-13: 978-3882439076
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 14.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,323,363 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By ewomack TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 21, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By "radiohead1095" on January 16, 2004
Format: Hardcover
David Byrne's latest adventure into picture books is, like his post Talking heads solo career hit or miss and always interesting. Artistically this book ranges from beutiful, to intreaging, to ugly, but is always original.
Unfortunaltly being original is not enough positive to excuse paying $56 for a book. So this perchase should be relegated to either the wealthy and curious, or the David Byrne fans (like this reviewer).
However for those of you who might buy this book, Mr. Byrne doesn't dissapoint for the most part. Peoples issue ith Byrne is his need to be original instead of being great. The result is interesting, but not always worthwhile, with the Talking Heads his bandmates always kept him grounded for the most part and it wasn't until their split in '88 that his eccentricities really showed, musically his ambitions have ranged from trip hop, to Latin, to garage, to space, and back. Artistically his work has reflected his love of small things, he would photograph chairs, pipes, upside down body parts, etc. There was of course a certain sence of irony that came with these images, he made the human body look funny and made a big deal out of common household items, they were detached, alienating, and to some dadaist extent, beutiful.
This images are either complete originals or taken from advertisements, at their best they take images we might see on TV and twists their meaning into themes of technology alienating our lives, especially the digital phrenology stuff at the end. HOwever as previously stated, while Byrne has become more intinatly aquainted with the medium than on his previous effort, "Your Action World" he is still limited by it.
If you have the money and the desire, then pick it up, but don't go out of your way, its not particularly inspiring to an artist, but merely a point of interest.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By JG on March 4, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
....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???
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