Enter the Bizarrely Banal World of Military PowerPoint Presentations

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No singing involved in the Internet Archive's first-ever Military Powerpoint Karaoke. (Courtesy of the Internet Archive)

From the people who brought you the troop surge of 2007, the ongoing war in Afghanistan, drone strikes on Iraqi civilians and untold numbers of troops engaged in the ever-expanding Global War on Terror, we now have the first ever Military Powerpoint Karaoke.

On Tuesday, March 6, PowerPoint slides culled from “.mil” web domains by the Internet Archive and its partners serve as source material for a performance art event the military industrial complex likely never anticipated.

Audience members will step up to a mic and deliver the PowerPoint decks sight unseen, as straight-faced or as performatively as they see fit. Each presentation ends when all slides are clicked through or 5 minutes have passed (whichever comes first). The decks in the Internet Archive’s collection range from tips on “Surviving Driving Holidays ‘07” to an Army presentation on the history, use and dangers of LSD — so expect anything from mundane charts to maps of hate groups in the Midwest.

A slide from a deck in the Internet Archive's Military Industrial Powerpoint Complex collection.
A slide from a deck in the Internet Archive's Military Industrial Powerpoint Complex collection. (Courtesy of the Internet Archive)

Also to be expected: terrible font choices, low-res images, awkward graphics and very strange formatting decisions. For those interested in the aesthetics of ugliness, these PowerPoints are a must-see. And as a bizarrely intimate peek into the military’s internal workings, it’s only fitting the decks should be presented by civilians in an equally vulnerable situation -- in front of a small crowd, with improvised authority.

Kicking off the night with headlining presentations are Rick Prelinger (of the Prelinger Library, Prelinger Archives and Lost Landscapes films) and Avery Trufelman (of the podcast 99% Invisible). Whether you’re a quick-witted raconteur with killer stage presence or simply an enthusiastic audience member, the night’s sure to be illuminating.


Military Powerpoint Karaoke takes place at the Internet Archive in San Francisco (300 Funston Avenue) on Tuesday, March 6, 7:30pm. Register for free tickets here.