Not Signed-In
Which clippings match 'Otto Neurath' keyword pg.1 of 1
29 JUNE 2011

A going concern. Toilet signage as an international cultural artefact

"Toilet signage itself has a relatively young history, following that of the public loo, which only became common in the late nineteenth century, stimulated by increasing mobility and the separation of work from home. Public conveniences first appeared in British railway stations and department stores, but the practice was then exported through the British empire.

These early signs were text–based but increasingly mobile populations in the twentieth century encouraged the development of pictorial systems that did not require shared language. Visual languages such as the US Department of Transportation symbol system designed in 1974 – the first comprehensive pictogram system – and systems developed for the Olympics aimed for universality but very much reflected their Germanic roots in abstract systems such as those of Otto Neurath. Once embraced by international communications and business, they became part of the International Style."

(Lynne Ciochetto, 13 August 2009)

1

TAGS

1974 • abstract systems • British Empire • British railway stations • cultural artefactdepartment storesGermanic rootsglobalisationgraphic representation • increasing mobility • India • international business • international communicationsInternational StyleInternational Typographic Style • late nineteenth century • Lynne Ciochetto • mobile populations • modernismOlympicsOtto Neurathpictogrampictogram systempictorial systemspostcolonial • public loo • rail • separation of work from home • shared languagesignssymbol systemtoilet signagetwentieth century • US Department of Transportation • visual communicationvisual language

CONTRIBUTOR

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'

1

TAGS

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

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
08 MARCH 2010

Otto Neurath and the Vienna Method of Picture Statistics

"The Vienna method of picture statistics represents a remarkable episode in the history of statistical graphics. It was an organized attempt to use graphical design for the purpose of achieving changes in society, primarily through visual education of the masses, and especially by presenting basic socio–economic facts in a readily comprehensible form. ... One of the leading ideas of the Vienna circle was that nature, as well as history, economy and society, could be described by the same methods. These should produce valid statements about space–time relationships that would lead to predictions which in turn could influence the course of events [6].

A characteristic of picture statistics according to Neurath's Vienna method is that numbers are represented by a series of identical pictorial elements or signs, each of them representing a defined quantity... . The discrete character, the attractiveness and expressiveness of the picture elements are essential aspects of picture statistics. They can be transformed back into numbers by counting picture elements. This contrasts with the practice of present–day bar charts or histograms in which numbers are translated into lengths of continuous line segments, and in which the numbers are reconstructed from readings on a numerically divided scale.

Neurath vigorously rejected histograms with numerical scales, pie charts and graded symbols, as much as he disapproved of continuous line charts. He strictly adhered to counting of recognizable and suggestive signs."

(Paul J. Lewi, 2006)

[6] Otto Neurath, Empirische Sociologie, 1931. Otto Neurath, Foundations of the Social Sciences. 1944.

1

TAGS

2006Austriachartcommunicationdatadesigndiagram • graded symbols • graphicacyhistograminformation designinformation graphics • line charts • numerical scalesOtto Neurath • pictorial elements • pictorial representation • pictorial signs • picture statisticspie chartssocio-economicstatistical graphicsVienna CircleVienna Method • Vienna Method of Picture Statistics • visual communicationvisual designvisual educationvisual information designvisual languagevisualisation

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
08 MARCH 2010

Encyclopaedia is assumed as an historical production always incomplete, unfinished, precarious, condemned to the voracity of knowledge progress

"In the line of [Francis] Bacon Instauratio Magna, encyclopaedia is assumed as an historical production always incomplete, unfinished, precarious, condemned to the voracity of knowledge progress: "it does not suppose that the work can be altogether completed within one generation, but provides for its being taken up by another"[1]

If encyclopaedia is never a dictionary, yet they have one point in common. They both are discontinuous texts made of independent segments or entries, either alphabetically organised or structured in larger conceptual, thematic or disciplinary frameworks. Those semantic fields never present well–defined borders. Each entry opens (explicitly or implicitly) to other entries which, in turn, open to others in such a way that each entry is virtually connected with all others. In that sense, encyclopaedia is not so much a monumental reunion of all knowledge in one closed place, but the free circulation of unity throughout the dense and sensual effectivity of its volumes and pages. Not a static totality but a dynamic entity, not a mausoleum but a "living intellectual force" as Otto Neurath, the big organiser of neo–positivist International Encyclopaedia of Unified Science (1937–38) used to say [3]. Not an additive totality but a vast, waving horizon, a net of multidimensional elements which can be connected according to multiple relationships. That is to say, encyclopaedia supposes a deep, floating continuity underlying its superficial discontinuity. This is the point in which encyclopaedia most clearly revels itself as a strong configuration of the unity of science. In fact, it is the only attempt of unification of knowledge, which is effectively realised, the only material realisation of unity of science that condenses and presents to the eyes of everybody a large scope of materials, which could never be confronted in any other way."

(Olga Pombo)

[1] F. Bacon, Instauratio Magna, Preface, in The Works of Francis Bacon, edited by J. Spedding, 1857–1874, London: Ellis and Heath, vol. IV: 21.

[3] I quote Neurath from his famous "Unified Science and Encyclopaedic Integration": 'a living being and not a phantom, not a mausoleum or an herbarium, but a living intellectual force', "Unified Science and Encyclopaedic Integration", in O. Neurath (ed.), International Encyclopaedia of Unified Science, Chicago/Illinois: The University of Chicago Press, 1938, vol. I: 26.

Leibniz and the Encyclopaedic Project, Actas del Congresso Internacional Ciência, Tecnologia Y Bien Comun: La Catualidad de Leibniz (Valência, 21–23 Marzo de 2001), Valencia: Editorial de la Universidas Politecnica de Valencia, 2002, pp. 267–278.

TAGS

becomingconstellationsdictionarydiscursive fieldencyclopaediaFrancis BaconGottfried Leibnizhorizon • Instauratio Magna • mausoleum • multidimensional • orderingOtto Neurath • segment • semantic • unification of knowledge

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
03 JULY 2009

Otto Neurath and Josef Frank: habit and tradition shape daily life

"the interpretation I would like to offer is that the relationship between architectural modernism and the Vienna Circle was a problematic one at best. The principal reasons were philosophical and ideological in nature. Specifically, over the course of the second half of the 1920s and early 1930s [Otto] Neurath and Josef Frank grew increasingly skeptical [sic] of the idea that the planning of the physical environment could cause corresponding changes in the social environment. That is to say, they were acutely conscious of the role that habit and tradition played in shaping daily life, and they were not convinced that the anti–decorative language that modernist architecture embodied would bring about social and political change of its own accord."

(Nader Vossoughian, HOPOS Lecture, 25 June 2004)

Fig.1 The Müller Villa in Prague which was commissioned by František Müller and his wife Milada and built between 1928 and 1930 according to Adolf Loos's design.

1

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
Sign-In

Sign-In to Folksonomy

Can't access your account?

New to Folksonomy?

Sign-Up or learn more.