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.
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.