Co-presence and PowerPoint: Presentations as Organizational Rites JoAnn Brooks University of Michigan Current popularity of PowerPoint attracts both interest and concern. Less obviously, it also signals the importance of co-presence in relation to even simple communication technology. Yet the significance of co-presence in this regard is often overlooked and not well understood. This talk offers a description of co-presence as interrelated with projected PowerPoint images during presentations. The work is grounded in ethnographic data gathered during a year's participant observation in a high-tech research and development setting. Analysis indicates that presentations in this organizational context can be explained in terms of Durkheim's classic theory on rites -- periodic assemblies of members of a society, which involve a common focus of attention on visible images. Furthermore, Durkheim's theory offers powerful insights into co-presence and its interrelationship with commonly visible images during presentations. Drawing on Durkheim's work then, I explain co-presence in presentations as involving synchronized collective action and collective feeling, from which emerge unified moral affect. At the same time during presentations, the visible images serve as a common focus of attention, supporting participants' awareness of their collectivity and affording them a sense of its persistence. Implications of this perspective for understanding the importance of presentations in organizational culture are discussed, suggesting a very practical rationale for PowerPoint's current popularity.