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Which clippings match '1925' keyword pg.1 of 1
28 JANUARY 2014

Montage theory: the Battleship Potemkin Odessa Steps scene

"Montage––juxtaposing images by editing––is unique to film (and now video). During the 1920s, the pioneering Russian film directors and theorists Sergei Eisenstein and Dziga Vertov demonstrated the technical, aesthetic, and ideological potentials of montage. The 'new media' theorist Lev Manovich has pointed out how much these experiments of the 1920s underlie the aesthetics of contemporary video.

Eisenstein believed that film montage could create ideas or have an impact beyond the individual images. Two or more images edited together create a 'tertium quid' (third thing) that makes the whole greater than the sum of its individual parts.

Eisenstein's greatest demonstration of the power of montage comes in the 'Odessa Steps' sequence of his 1925 film Battleship Potemkin. On the simplest level, montage allows Eisenstein to manipulate the audience's perception of time by stretching out the crowd's flight down the steps for seven minutes, several times longer than it would take in real time"

(Glen Johnson)






1920s1925 • audience perception • Battleship Potemkin (1925)cinematic visual languagecontinuity editing • cross cutting • crowdDziga Vertovediting technique • film aesthetics • film montage • film sequence • ideological potential • juxtapositionLev Manovichmontagemontage theory • narrative design • Odessa Steps • parallel action • parallel cut • parallel editing • parallel textsequence designSergei Eisensteinshot reverse shotstaircasestairwaysteps • tertium quid • third thing • whole is greater than the sum of the parts


Simon Perkins
03 OCTOBER 2011

Rodchenko's revolution: a socialist with true vision

"Painter, photographer, filmmaker, set designer, teacher, metalworker, [Alexander Rodchenko] revelled in the new freedoms thrown up by the Russian Revolution and was fiercely committed to liberating art for the masses.

Whether it was his blueprint for the ideal working man's club showcased at the Paris Exhibition of 1925, his illustrated covers for engineering manuals or his pioneering film poster for Sergei Eisenstein's classic Battleship Potemkin, Rodchenko's experimentation embodied the spirit of the early Soviet era.

But just as he thrived in the intellectual ferment of the Lenin years, like so many other artists–cum–revolutionaries of the period he was to fall foul of Stalin's increasingly paranoid and brutal regime.

Today his influence lives on, not only inspiring modern–day photographers like Martin Parr, but his designs are perhaps best known for the art school chic they afford to the covers of records by the Scottish indie band Franz Ferdinand."

(Arifa Akbar and Jonathan Brown, 2 January 2008, The Independent)

Alexander Rodchenko (1925). "Lengiz books on all subjects!"



19252004Alexander Rodchenkoanimationart school • artist-cum-revolutionary • bandBattleship Potemkin (1925)design formalism • engineering manuals • figures in spacefilm posterfilmmakerFranz Ferdinandhomageidealism • illustrated covers • indie band • Joseph Stalin • liberating art for the masses • Martin Parr • metalworker • modernist aestheticsmotion graphicsmusic videopainter • Paris Exhibition • photographerphotomontagepioneeringposter design • record cover • regimerevisionRussian artistRussian constructivismRussian design • Russian Revolution • Scottishsequence designSergei Eisenstein • set designer • Soviet era • Take Me Out • typographyvisual communicationvisual designvisual literacyVladimir Lenin


Simon Perkins
21 MARCH 2011

ISOTYPE: International System of TYpographic Picture Education

"Pictures had been used for the purpose of conveying information long before the development of Isotype. Picture language preceded the evolution of writing and a number of societies developed their own sets of rules in order to aid communication through pictures. Since the evolution of alphabetic writing in the western world pictures have, generally speaking, played a subordinate role to writing as far as communicating information is concerned. It is true that until the middle of the nineteenth century paintings usually told a story of some kind and relied on conventions of symbolism, composition, gesture and facial expression to convey their meaning; but there were few attempts to build up comprehensive picture languages before the present century. Comenius was not concerned with the structure of pictorial language, and even William Playfair, who developed a visual approach to the representation of quantities in the late eighteenth century which he called 'lineal arithmetic', does not appear to have adopted any firm conventions of treatment. Similarly, the numerous nineteenth– and early twentieth–century designers who presented statistics and other information through pictures appear not to have considered the need to work out overall approaches. By the end of the nineteenth century many novel approaches had been adopted in the field of picture language but, in general, it was as chaotic as written language was in pre–classical times when early Greek and Latin characters assumed a variety of orientations and the direction of reading and writing were not fixed.

The real significance of Otto Neurath's contribution in the field of picture language is that he saw the need to establish a set of conventions in order to make communication easier and more effective. These conventions were developed over a number of years and were only settled upon after being tested thoroughly through use. However, two basic rules were formulated almost from the beginning of the Isotype Movement. The first of these related to the presentation of statistics by means of pictures and held that a sign should be used to represent a certain amount of things and a greater number of such signs a greater amount of things. The second was a general rule that perspective should not be used. Perspective involves making objects of the same size smaller or larger according to their distance from the viewer, which means that they cannot easily be quantified; when something needed to be shown in three dimensions the Isotype team used models or isometric drawings. In accepting these two basic rules Otto Neurath was returning to the conventions of some of the earliest formalised systems of communication, and particularly to Egyptian wall painting and hieroglyphs which had influenced him profoundly. Thereafter a number of other rules and conventions were established by Otto Neurath and his team. They are described briefly in the section of the catalogue called 'Principles of Isotype', and in more detail by Otto Neurath in his book International picture language."

(Michael Twyman, 1975)

Fig.1 Chart of motor vehicles in the United States and abroad. From Gesellschaft und Wirtschaft, 1930 (courtesy MAK Center).

2). Michael Twyman (1975). 'The significance of Isotype'

3). Otto Neurath (1930). 'Gesellschaft und Wirtschaft – Bildatlas'



1925atlascartographychartconventionsdesign formalismdesign historydiagram • Gerd Arntz • Gesellschaft und Wirtschaft • graphic communicationhieroglyphsillustrationinformationinformation aestheticsinformation graphics • international picture language • International System of TYpographic Picture Education • ISOTYPE • IZOSTAT • lineal arithmetic • map • Marie Neurath • Marie Reidemeister • notationOtto Neurath • Paul Rotha • pictogrampictorial languagepictorial statisticspicture languagerepresentation • Soviet Institute of Pictorial Statistics • statisticssymbolismtwentieth-century designVictoria and Albert MuseumVienna Methodvisual approachvisual communicationvisual education • visual science • William Playfair


Simon Perkins
13 JUNE 2009

Limitations of Acoustical Recording

"In 1925 the electrical broadcasting microphone was introduced into gramophone studios. Because of its enormously greater range and sensitivity the microphone revolutionised gramophone recording overnight. Thinking about recording methods as they had been during his entire career up to 1925, Fred Gaisberg wrote:

In some ways acoustic recording flattered the voice. A glance at the rich catalogue of that period will show that it was the heyday of the singer.... The inadequacy of the accompaniments to the lovely vocal records made in the Acoustic Age was their great weakness. There was no pretence of using the composer's score; we had to arrange it for wind instruments [largely] ... and all nuances (such as pianissimo effects) were omitted ....

Acoustically recorded sound had reached the limit of progress. The top frequencies were triple C – 2,088 vibrations per second – and the low remained at E – 164 vibrations per second. Voices and instruments (especially stringed instruments) were confined rigidly within these boundaries, although the average human ear perceives from 30 to 15,000 vibrations per second, and musical sounds range from 60 to 8,000 vibrations"
(Marc Shepherd)

A VOICE IN TIME: The Gramophone Of Fred Gaisberg 1873–1951", Jerrold Northrop Moore, Hamish Hamilton Ltd., London: 1976

[extract Fred Gaisberg compared the limitations of acoustic recording with the improvements in sound fidelity available with electric recording; which he first found out about from his old friend, Russell Hunting]



1873 • 19251951 • analog • analoguedevice • electric recording • fidelity • Fred Gaisberg • gramophoneinnovation • microphone • pioneerpioneeringrecording • Russell Hunting • soundtechnologyvoice


Simon Perkins

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