It seems that many visual artists that somehow documented the thoughts behind their work reach higher levels of fame. One example is Vincent van Gogh, who through the letters to his brother Theo gave us a lot of background on his art. Vincent van Gogh spent some time in this white house in the same street I grew up in the Dutch town of Hoogeveen, and it is striking to see how his descriptions of the place, the features and character of the people still applies today (except for that people there have moved on from living in huts). His subsequent transition from the cold/dark Netherlands to the bright Mediterranean is another interesting parallel I share with the painter.
|Vincent Van Gogh, farm house in Hoogeveen|
Recently, I have been reading a biography about Robert Irwin, an American artist starting off with expressionist paintings to move on to minimalist, large art installations. The book Seeing Is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees (affiliate link) provides lots of his personal perspectives behind his own work, but more importantly about art in general. I have changed the way I like at art after reading it.
Irwin wonders why art ends with the frame of the painting. He wonders why art ends with the room the painting/installation is exhibited. Art and beauty is all around us, we just need to be able to perceive it.
"But paintings are like what you can barely make out through a keyhole compared with the richness of perception that's just waiting there in the world to be experienced all the time. [...] It's strange. With food, for instance, people seem to understand what's involved: you savor the taste rather than just feed the body. But people have a hard time understanding that it should be the same way with visual experience."Popping the bubble and bringing us back to the world of presentations. What got me to write this long post introduction is the insight that you need to design an overall presentation experience that does not end with the borders of your screen. The background, the stage decor, the way you/the speaker appears, the light in the room, everything. Your presentation is a mini art installation maybe with a more banal subject than these great artists, but still it is an installation. Imagine what a video of your performance would look/sound like and design acoordingly. The TED presentations are a good example of this.