Living life in pictures: isotype as modernist cultural practice

New Formations - ISSN 0950-2378
Volume 2010 Number 70

Living life in pictures: isotype as modernist cultural practice
Michelle Henning pages -


The Vienna Method of Picture Statistics, also known as Isotype, has become a means for historians and theorists of modern culture to directly link visual modernism with modern social science and philosophy, specifically with logical positivism and Taylorism/Fordism. Isotype has been described in terms of Taylorist standardization, rationalism, ‘transparent construction’ and functionalism. By delineating the understanding of these terms held by Isotype’s inventor Otto Neurath and his friends and colleagues, and contextualising Isotype in relation to recent reassessments of Neurath’s other work, I suggest that Isotype participated in a modernism that was understood by its proponents in ways that were more plural, and pluralist, than we now give them credit.

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To cite this article
Michelle Henning (2010) Living life in pictures: isotype as modernist cultural practice, New Formations, 2010(70), -

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