A Response to the TEDx Talks from John Bohannon Dance vs. PowerPoint at the TEDx Conference in Brussels’
By: Lucie Baker
In this brief speech about the perils of PowerPoint and the advantages of dance as a form of communication John Bohannon brings up a number of important questions about the way we share information and the role of art within contemporary culture. Two of the most compelling thoughts for me are: Does art have a purpose? and how can I most effectively make someone understand an idea?
I personally believe that art must have no function other than to be art; a distinction that separates art from design. For example, a beautifully crafted fork is still a fork, not a sculpture. That being said, I also believe that art is a method of communication that is more holistic and intuitive than language. I have understood nuances of rage and tranquility by looking at a Mark Rothko painting that I could never articulate in language or PowerPoint. I agree that PowerPoint is a misused and ineffective tool for communication. However, I feel somewhat belittled by relegating dance to explaining scientific research. It is so much more. I am excited by the prospect of combining disciplines and sharing knowledge between the artistic and scientific communities. Dance is one of the most complicated ways that the human body interacts with the laws of physics which would make it a uniquely articulate way to explore new ideas about physics. However, it communicates a wide range of emotions and experiences as well.
All that aside, I often find that people are woefully habitual when it comes to their methods of communication. People think in many different ways. Why not use all of our senses to convey what we mean? Visual, audio, texture, taste, smell. I often find myself singing a story to a friend or my gestures turning into more of a dance when I am really getting into a good point. I am not interested in turning dance into a tool for rhetoric but I am interested in new ways of connecting to one another and sharing the knowledge of the world.
So move over PowerPoint. Let the dancers take the stage and teach us about super fluids.