‘Isotype and beyond’ Symposium, 27 & 28 October 2021

This symposium is organized by our project in collaboration with the Österreichische Gesellschafts- und Wirtschaftsmuseum, Institut Wiener Kreis, Wiener Kreis Gesellschaft, and Wienmuseum.

It will take place on 27 & 28 October 2021 at the Wirtschaftsmuseum, Vogelsanggasse 36, 1050 Wien.

Some talks will be given in German, and some in English.

Download the programme

Isotype – the International System of Typographic Picture Education – emerged in the mid-1930s from the “Vienna method of pictorial statistics”. This had been developed in the educational context of Red Vienna during the interwar period. Although visual education using pictograms in statistical charts and in diagrams is primarily associated with the name Otto Neurath (1882–1945), the Isotype method was based on interdisciplinary teamwork. Scientists from various disciplines participated in it, as well as graphic designers, artists, photographers, cartographers, and others. Marie Reidemeister (Neurath) and Gerd Arntz are two of the most important names of the original Isotype team.

After Otto Neurath’s death in December 1945, the history of Isotype did not come to an end. In many countries around the world, such as England, the USA, the Netherlands, and even Austria, visual education continued for decades, not always with explicit reference to Isotype.

What is the situation today? To what extent are pictograms and statistical images used for educational purposes, for social, economic and political enlightenment? To what extent have they entered common, visual culture? The conference will first give an overview of the history and methodology of Isotype, and then turn to concrete examples of current applications. Examples from topics such as climate crisis, migration, housing, health, and contemporary history will be presented.

Conference ‘Universal languages, artificial languages, planned languages’

4 November 2020

The conference ‘Universal languages, artificial languages, planned languages: dreams of a world without translation’, conceived by Thomas Macho and Günther Sandner, will take place online between 18 and 20 November 2020. The conference is organized by the Internationales Forschungszentrum Kulturwissenschaften (IFK, Vienna) in cooperation with the FWF research project ‘Isotype: origin, development, and legacy’ of the Institute Wiener Kreis / University of Vienna.

Günther Sandner will give the keynote lecture ‘World language without words’, about the Glyphs project of Rudolf Modley and Margaret Mead, and Christopher Burke will give a talk about ‘Isotype and Interglossa’ on 19 November.

‘History and present of Isotype’ at Wirtschaftsmuseum, Vienna

4 October 2019

This exhibition is being shown until 14 February 2020 as a satellite of the exhibition ‘Das rote Wien’ (Red Vienna) organized by the Wien Museum at MUSA. ‘History and present of Isotype’ is curated by Gernot Waldner and includes original material from the Wirtschaftsmuseum and the Wiener Kreis Gesellschaft (Vienna Circle Society) plus reproductions of material from the Otto & Marie Neurath Isotype Collection (University of Reading, UK). The curatorial team included Christopher Burke, Gerhard Halusa, Yvonne Heigl, and Olaf Osten. The exhibition also features some new Isotype charts on the theme of immigration, executed by Yvonne Heigl (graphic designer at the Wirtschaftsmuseum).

At the opening of the exhibition on 6 September 2019, a lecture was given by Günther Sandner & Christopher Burke with the title ‘Words divide – pictures unite.’ The event was moderated by art historian Maria Holter.

Günther Sandner, Maria Holter, & Christopher Burke. (Photo: Yvonne Heigl, Wirtschaftsmuseum)

Further lectures will be held on the theme of Isotype at the Wirtschaftsmuseum by Friedrich Stadler (15 October 2019), Elisabeth Nemeth (13 November 2019), and Konrad Pesendorfer (10 December 2019). See here for more details.

Marie Neurath: Picturing Science

3 October 2019

This exhibition about Marie Neurath’s work in making books about science for young readers is being shown at the House of Illustration, London, until 3 November 2019. It is co-curated by Sue Walker, Eric Kindel, and Emma Minns of the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication, University of Reading (UK), and shows material from the Otto & Marie Neurath Isotype Collection held at the university.

An article about the exhibition has been published in The Guardian.

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