Frank Hartmann (by way of Pit Schultz <>) on Wed, 11 Jun 1997 00:29:43 +0200 (MET DST)

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<nettime> Speaking Signs. Otto Neurath's Viennese Method of Visual Education

[Should we retreat into the citadels of script to achieve a new 'lightness 
of being'? After the brief discussion with P.L. Wilson on iconoclastic 
tendencies [PLW calls it 'hermetic criticism' - a practique of resistance 
against 'false imaginary', corporate propaganda etc. - more soon! /pit] in 
his speech at the ZKP4 presentation here in Vienna last thursday, I decided 
to submit the following lengthy text to the list - to give it a second 
thought. Media theory and net-criticism, in my opinion, are in heavy need of 
reconstructing and re-contextualizing within their theoretical tradition, 
instead of establishing a new crypto-religious BILDERVERBOT. This text I 
comprehend as a part of a contextualizing media archaeology. It is 
originally a lecture held at Princeton University in october '96; all quotes 
are my translation. A hard copy with picture examples was sent to Mr. 
Wilson. For a flashy Web version see  - 

S P E A K I N G  S I G N S

Can there be an education through the eye? An account on early steps in 
media-literacy: the shift towards the iconic in Otto Neurath's Viennese 
Method of Visual Education

Frank Hartmann


In his days, Otto Neurath (1882-1945) certainly was a pioneer in many 
respects - his contributions are in socialist politics, political economy, 
the theory of science, sociology and social philosophy. However, especially 
remarkable was his revolutionary access to communication theory based on 
investigating the role of communication in what he called the making of 
modern man. Within the wider context of a Wissenschaftliche Weltauffassung 
(= scientific world conception), he developed early steps in media literacy, 
conceived as a continuation of enlightenment, the struggle against 
metaphysics following a practical turn to the iconic form of communication, 
in the terms of ISOTYPE, which will be explained in my further exposition here.

Any attempt to approximate Neurath's thinking is most certainly ambivalent 
today, as the political field of the 20s and 30s has changed significantly, 
and furthermore, with the electronic trnasformation of the media, their 
technical realities have become fundamentally different. Literally nothing 
is left of the former socialist hope for a new society - Neurath connected 
it with very concrete expectations - and the perceptional arena of social 
circumstances and occurrences has eminently shifted due to media 
development. In these days, Neurath's texts indicate with surprising clarity 
to what wide extents the roots of the Wiener Kreis (= Viennese Circle, a 
term he coined for the anti-metaphysical Verein Ernst Mach) ought to be 
interpreted in the view of social crisis at the time of World War I and 
thereafter. In contrast to the artificial purification of philosophical 
thinking in a mostly self-sufficient Analytical Philosophy, a decisive move 
was taken in Neurath's theory of science which did not shy away from radical 
social criticism.

Neurath's genuine program of a unified science does not signify superficial 
levelling, but it is rather that which presently pursues various issues in 
an 'interdisciplinary approach' to 'transdisciplinary objectives'. 
Furthermore, Neurath expressed ideas of questions on how to represent 
scientific results and to transfer academic knowledge into society. A 
certain nonchalance in dealing with historical, philosophical encumbrances 
that appeared to weigh heavily on the scholarly generation of his time, 
virtually accommodated his central claim: to engage science in the service 
of social change. Within the logics of science, Neurath's scepticism 
concerning any disciplinary obligation is distantly reminiscent of American 
pragmatism in accordance with Richard Rorty: the vote is to leave the 
endeavoured answers of metaphysical tradition at that, simply because 
meanwhile, we learn that we have completely different questions to solve. 


While Otto Neurath's conduct toward  the academic ideal of education and 
science was quite a subversive one, he engaged in the Munich Revolution and 
for a short time became the president of the Bayrisches 
Zentralwirtschaftsamt in the Commissary Republic, 1919. On account of these 
political activities, he lost his teaching qualifications in political 
economy in Max Weber's Heidelberg Department of Sociology. If it is accepted 
that philosophy cannot really be about 'scientific facts' but rather the 
difference between phenotypes and reality (or their construction), then 
Neurath was certainly also a philosopher. He came about this difference as a 
central theme: as the one between pretensions and actuality of social 
modernity, and as a contradiction between the ideals of the bourgeois 
enlightenment and the costs of modernisation in our Lebenswelt. Neurath's 
question ran: how can scientists, as social engineers, contribute to better 
political and economic construction? His answer was based on one simple 
premise. The general improvement of the living conditions proceeds along the 
lines of very concrete measures -- in regard to lodging, nutrition, 
clothing, working hours -- measures he sized up on a strictly scientific 
foundation of empirical observation and logical analysis. Science for a 
brave new world? For Neurath himself, it was the rigorous experience of the 
First World War which convinced him of the feasibility of scientifically 
sound social technology. He first addressed organisational issues in the 
Austrian War Department (1914-1918); in addition, he saw an opportunity to 
radically break away from abstract units (i.e. money) as regulative of 
society in a centrally administered economy of natural produce 

Enforced by wartime conditions, intervention into economic interrelations 
signalised political feasibility. Neurath once remarked that war experiences 
make utopia socially acceptable since far-reaching changes are realised in 
it virtually 'over night' (i.e. unexpectedly as much as involuntarily). 
Economy is no order in itself but precisely here, it reveals itself as 
extremely manipulable machinery. He tended to perceive scientific progress 
as being quite similar: emerging from discontinuities, not from further or 
higher cognitive development. Later, such an approach lead to the notion of 
'paradigm change' (Thomas Kuhn 1962).

This approach may seem adroit within the frame of traditional theory, and 
can hardly do justice to the differentiated problems of posttraditional 
societies. Yet, it is a serious attempt to redeem anew the claim of 
bourgeois enlightenment along with its 'educational ideal'. Neurath tried to 
practically translate his scientific insights into practical action: in the 
aforementioned interlude for the Münchner Räterepublik (= Munich Commissary 
Republic) and later, when he became a promoter of the Schrebergartenbewegung 
(= Allotment Movement) in Vienna, in which he could still perceive a 
preliminary stage to true economic democracy (grow your own food - since 
self-sufficient workers could not as easily be blackmailed, in the thirties 
this was considered a piece of pragmatically realised utopia and not the 
petty bourgeois escapism it became in our time). 


Neurath's aim was to overcome the dualism in European philosophy, the 
divergence of a perspective of reason on the one hand and a potential for 
action on the other hand. For social theory, this meant a reconstruction of 
epistemic systems as well as the involvement in concrete societal 
organisation. He was aware, however, that only a historically comparative 
view, not an axiomatic setting, might lead to a unified science. An utopian 
collective of scientific researchers should be founded, though not as an 
autarkic republic of distinguished scholars. Alongside came a broadly 
educational intention, whereas adult education became an issue, by enhancing 
the scientific argument with an 'education through the eye'. To achieve 
this, Neurath further developed pictorial statistics or data graphics, a 
visual display of quantitative information better known as ISOTYPE (= 
International System of Typographic Picture Education, as the Viennese 
method was called after 1934, when Neurath, faced with the emerging 
Austro-fascism, chose for exile): the new 'method of visual education' - an 
innovation by design in diagrams and films. Thus, Neurath initiated a 
pictorial turn of sorts, a turn towards media literacy as an educational tool.

The enlightening impulse was meant to lead to a new edition of the 
Encyclopédie, an illuminating global overview in theories and images - not 
as compulsory standard, but as intellectual frame model for the ever 
changing conditions of the social production of knowledge. This was put into 
the explicit in consequence of the 'orbis pictoris' (Opera Didactica Omnia) 
by the Renaissance thinker Comenius, an encyclopaedic 'Pansophie' uniting 
mankind through common language, science and religion. Neurath was aware of 
the danger in the construction of a 'system of absolute validity'. His 
encyclopaedia was meant more as a provisional collection of epistemic 
stocks, contingent on usage and future systematisation and precision.
Hence, Neurath was concerned with a relational pattern focusing on 
knowledge, and this attitude was perhaps the most captivating aspect of his 
theorization. The offer was also issued out to the collective in accordance 
with future users - and this precisely explains his focus on the 
communicative aspects and issues of representation. As a leading factor, 
Neurath's claim to a unity of science and society was linked not only to the 
issue of how unity was to be brought in the theoretical order, but 
especially how that social compulsion can be attained in order to apply the 
social sciences for the good of society.


What in fact is the theoretical aspect pertaining to communication in 
practice? At the first level, communication within the community of 
investigators should be improved and, at the second level, general access to 
knowledge as well. The unified language of science is helpful at the former 
level, and the generation of a new pictorial language at the latter. Because 
once agreement has been reached on the fact that the epistemic reservoir is 
constantly increasing, the next step requires an answer to how the 
informational pool of modern society can be accessed. On this issue, Neurath 
recognised something crucial to the theory of communication, through 
creating icons of objectivity. Since a considerable part of the information 
to which an individual is exposed is optically processed, as Gestalt Theory 
and perceptual psychology were able to demonstrate at the end of the 19th 
century, it can be conclusive that information must be visualised or data 
must be transformed into pictures in order to be perceived at all.
"Metaphysical terms separate - scientific terms connect. United by a unified 
language, scientists form a kind of scholarly republic of labour, even if so 
many other things still separate people." (Neurath 1933)
Furthermore, systematising pictorial representation towards a new pictorial 
language helps to provide general accessible overviews and to perceive 
connections which are otherwise distorted by abstract expressions, be it by 
words or figures. In several essays - such as "Pictorial Representation of 
Social Facts" (= Bildliche Darstellung sozialer Tatbestände, 1926) and of 
course "Pictorial Statistics according to the Viennese Method" 
(Bildstatistik nach der Wiener Methode, 1931) - Neurath coined a suggestive 
maxim in this connection: "Worte trennen, Bilder verbinden" (= Words 
separate, pictures unite). How is this to be interpreted? Are pictures able 
to connect what words and the typographical order of the alphabet, according 
to the later media theory of McLuhan, allegedly tear apart?

The new method of representation was constructed upon rules of iconic 
communication when Neurath concluded that general accessibility was more 
easily attainable with visual means than through the round-about way of 
campaigns against illiteracy. Thus, he well recognised that new means and 
techniques of communication had been developing for some time. It was the 
new technical media around the turn of the century that provided substantial 
aspects of a new cultural order of things. Neurath registered this 
precisely, as evidenced in his 1926 text on statistic hieroglyphs: 
"Modern man receives a large part of his knowledge and general education by 
way of pictorial impressions, illustrations, photographs, films. Daily 
newspapers bring more pictures from year to year. In addition, the 
advertising business operates with optical signals as well as 
representations. Exhibitions and museums are indeed offspring of this visual 

Jahrhundert des Auges (century of the eye) is what he calls our age:
"Today, frequent changes of visual environment belong to the characteristics 
of modern urban life which is also penetrating into rural areas. Wall 
posters call out to us from the streets and hallways; exhibitions are 
inviting us; millions of people are watching the motion picture screens 
every evening; a growing number of magazines and booklets are bringing new 

Note that this was said in the 1920s. This was not to be followed by cheap 
complaints about the information overload - indeed, after his diagnosis, 
Neurath does not fall into conservative lamentation in view of the general 
decline of culture but recommends instead to take the bull by the horns. He 
rather propagates a practical application of iconic communication and calls 
it pictorial statistics according to the Viennese Method.
"A picture produced after the rules of the Viennese Method shows the most 
important details of the object at first glance; apparent differences must 
strike the eye immediately. At second glance, it should be possible to 
distinguish the more important details, and at third glance, whatever other 
details to be seen. If a picture gives further information at fourth or at 
fifth glance, it should be rejected as pedagogically unsuitable according to 
the Viennese School."
The method, to put it simple, was to create a new type of signs as close as 
possible to what they would stand in for (i.e. depicting an object at the 
possibly highest iconicity, beyond the illustration of data), and to show a 
consistency of sorts: the same signs for the same things, and more (instead 
of bigger) signs for higher quantities. The rules for  ISOTYPE, the new 
pictorial script, were simple, yet strict.


Neurath, with the help of graphic designer Gerd Arntz, was introducing a new 
symbolic tool, consisting of both new signs and a new code for using them: 
to achieve this, the demand for publicity formerly expressed in the 
bourgeois age of Enlightenment was also to be redeemed anew in consideration 
of the culturally revolutionised conditions of communication. 
"A new pictorial script is emerging - which a Swedish newspaper has called 
the Renaissance of hieroglyphs - a picture lexicon with a picture grammar."
This means nothing less than that all iconic (i.e. synthetic, sign-like 
instead of linear decoded) communication serves to expand one's lingual 
environment; or, paraphrasing Wittgenstein, the transgression of the lingual 
limitation of my world. 

Historically, the pictographic writing system has been a means for the 
underprivileged. Whoever propagates it infiltrates the dogma-centred 
verbality of modern intellectuality. 
"The average citizen should be able to acquire unlimited information on any 
subject which is of interest to him, just like he can obtain geographic 
knowledge from maps and atlases."
Neurath was convinced of the totally instrumental character of language; it 
is necessary to actively give form to language as a means of communication 
and, if needs to be, to radically replace it - yet always with the 
reservation that by and large, it is not possible to deliberately draw up 
conventions altogether (Neurath 1994: 403). 'Making language', for the 
philosopher, this task meant actively translating reality and abstractions 
into metaphors or 'sprechende Zeichen' (=speaking signs), along with the 
possible result of a vast 'thesaurus of  symbolic tools' open to any changes 
in the sense of pragmatism. 
Again, Neurath displayed sensibility in a promising direction: optical 
methods should solve the problems of properly addressing the public, 
unsolved by 18th century Enlightenment, and free it from its restrictive 
educational ideal. According to the programmatic of a unified science, the 
humanisation of knowledge is to be realised by visual means, such as ISOTYPE.


With this attempt to break through the Cartesian/Kantian cognitive realm by 
way of configurations, Neurath then followed the numerous attempts to find 
or reconstruct an ideal language. John Locke, one out of many, claimed at 
the end of 17th century: "As the main objective of language in communication 
is to be understood, words are not suitable for this purpose." In search for 
a more proper medium beyond the arbitrary use of words, the new medium will 
have received enhanced iconicity and, as in the case of Leibniz' 
Characteristica Universalis, will have led to an ideal language in which the 
degree of interpretation is kept as low as possible: as the greatest plan 
for the human mind, a new conceptual writing system based on a mathematical 
foundation. Later, Gottlob Frege's logicism called for new forms of 
expression, for which he introduced the Begriffsschrift (conceptual writing, 
1879), the main characteristics of which is the optimised use of both 
dimensions of the writing space (left to right, top to bottom). This heavily 
debated innovation should be put in the context of a new worldview, wherein 
a turn was taken from substantialist concepts towards an expression of 
logical relations. From Frege, the influence went to the Viennese Circle, at 
its fringes also including Wittgenstein.

Neurath's pursuit went beyond the realm of logics in itself. Pictures speak, 
and he called for speaking signs in order to optimise communication. The 
program was to introduce media literacy as enhancing a new form of 
enlightenment, replacing argumentative-linear decoding as the exclusive form 
of the scientific argument through new forms of iconic communication:
"From the start, pictorial statistics operates with spatial-temporal objects 
whereas in worded language, it is possible to use meaningless connections 
which often are only removed with effort. Word carry more emotional elements 
than quantity pictures which can be grasped without objection by people from 
different countries and parties; words separate, pictures unite."
This corresponds to the therapeutical programmatics of the Wissenschaftliche 
Weltauffassung (scientific world conception) which wanted to rid the world 
of the obnoxious lingual slag of tradition and metaphysics. Incidentally, 
the aesthetics of surrealist painting and modern computer technology have 
refuted Neurath on this point: surreal or virtual worlds of illusion can 
indeed be produced via photo-composing and morphing, i.e. digitally 
processed pictures. It became clear that optical montage techniques allow 
for equally meaningless combinations as the verbal language does - starting 
from the pictorial paradoxes of René Margritte up to the digitally produced 
video syntheses we know since the Terminator films.

The underlying question, however, is whether the endeavoured universal code 
of an ideal language will ever work or not. It does, considering the icons 
of corporate business. As a semiotic system, however elaborate it may be, an 
artificial visual language will always parasitize the contents of natural 
language. This applies especially to the substitutional code of pictograms. 
The limits of pictograms according to semiotician Umberto Eco lie in the 
fact that pictures can express the form or function of a thing but meet with 
trouble when they must express action, verbal tenses, adverbs or 
propositions. Many of Neurath's pictograms require further contextual 
explanations, of course. Their applicability is restricted not only 
historically but also ethno-culturally. Therefore, a universal code appears 
impossible which would be iconically constructed to an exclusive extent, 
where a picture represents characteristics, but does not function as a 
substitutional code for facts, of which always more than the visually 
representable traits alone are typical.

The problem with a perfected universal language, the fundamentals of which 
should be built upon a logical-mathematical calculation, was that its 
contents should have become ideal as well; the communicative problems were 
then exclusively located at the level of syntax (as seen in the work of 
Rudolf Carnap, Neurath's mate in the Vienna Circle). But decontextualised 
facts carry no meaning. This is why, in the endeavours toward a definite 
'debabylonisation' through new symbolic tools, a language of pictorial signs 
is of significance in the pragmatic aspects. Therefore, Neurath put an 
emphasis on the social context for any creation of meaning. As for his 
publications, he also made complementary use of verbal language, which was 
reduced to the experimental 'basic english' developed at Charles K. Ogden's 
Orthological Institute.


So, should there be 'speaking signs' to improve communication? I am afraid 
that there is no such thing. Neurath mixed up the dimensions of signs and 
pictures, and semiotically speaking, a sign according to Peirce is much 
different to an image of an object: it has a syntactic, a semantic and a 
pragmatic dimension. Considering later interpretations (and with it a 
possible evolution of dialects to any assigned ideal language) the ideal 
language does not work, even on a picto-grammatical level (how would you 
depict the meaning of 'toilet' on a strictly iconic level?). On the other 
hand, provided their substitutional codes apply to practices of 
communication and do not attempt to replace them, speaking signs still work 
in everyday communication. The contemporary world of communication, 
saturated with corporate logos, is full of 'speaking signs' which have 
little to say. But you can find them anywhere, mainly as a sort of semiotic 
traffic control in public orientation systems (airports, 
underground).Today's interface designers operate with them and this seems to 
function marvellously in constructing interactive media (e.g. for enter/exit 
buttons). It should be said here that Neurath and his team not only 
established standards for presenting statistical data but also influenced 
generations of graphic and/or interface designers. [For those who don't 
recognize it: many 'avantgarde'-design, up to the ZK-publikations / 
nettime-homepage design is a derivat of Neuraths pictographs!] 

Let us consider one possible criticism also in the light of the most 
innovative communication tool nowadays, the World Wide Web. In one of the 
above quotes Neurath claims that everybody should be able to acquire 
unlimited information "just like he can obtain geographical knowledge from 
maps and atlases". As reading a road map can never be a substitute for the 
experience of a journey, direct perception of the world cannot be replaced 
by a symbolic system or any 'virtual reality'. But considering that such 
direct experience is not what actually matters in the age of media, Neurath 
was correct in his days and still is: direct perceptions no longer hold the 
better epistemic credibility. After all, it is the symbolic tools which 
allow us to orientated ourselves in that construct habitually called 'our 
world' - whether we move in it physically or not becomes trivial. Neurath 
tacitly drew the correct conclusion from the fact that perception is never 
pure but additional interpretation, and he thus concentrated on the 
pragmatic aspects of the communication medium. Neurath, driven by political 
motives at his time, was fully convinced of the feasibility of a socialist 
reform of society, and he developed his pictorial pedagogy for the purpose 
of communicatively converting those ideas which he represented with the 
pronounced emotionalism of popular adult education. And yet, in an 
exceedingly ingenious way, the project of a unified science is set on the 
somewhat reductionist formula of 'modernity' (Zygmunt Bauman) according to 
which unity of language already means unity of all explanation.

The rationalistic standardisation fantasies involved here are irritating. 
The socialist endeavour to standardise the human lifeworld indeed coerces 
the idea of universal reason. Thus, the divergence of possible ways of life 
and expression is neglected as much as human creativity, which may claim to 
be principally open, is denied. Every uniformity implies a predictable and 
manipulable nature, and consequently, social control with which its 
scientific advocates have more or less consciously become heirs to religious 
ideologies. In this connection, the construct of unified communication 
accounts for itself with the decisive step in which Neurath envisaged the 
standardisation of scientific language in the sense of the Vienna Circle 
scientific world view as 'debablyonisation'.
Likewise, Neurath's approach to establishing a universal code through 
pictures must be considered in the framework of this utopia of a better 
society functioning in a communicatively irreproachable manner. The question 
is perhaps not so much in which form pictorial language could concretely 
function or not but rather which destiny would be beneficial in general. On 
this, Neurath felt explicitly obliged to the 'leading ideas' of the 
pragmatic tradition  - in line with George H. Mead, John Dewey and Charles 
S. Peirce, whereby he referred to an "emphasis on the social implications of 
language". This implies, however, that meanings are what matters (and 
Neurath indeed saw this) and not purely informational transmitting the 
formation of a cybernetic information theory excluding all semantics, which 
was accelerated shortly thereafter in connection with wartime ideology 

Unity of language and unity of explanation are the two cornerstones upon 
which unified science is built. In turn, such a science requires an ordered 
form of representation in order to communicate scientific insights to the 
widest possible audience in the most responsive and yet definite way 
possible. But what kind of science is this? Certainly not one that leaves 
room for criticism and scepticism. Lashed into a logical corset, 
enlightenment was meant to grant everybody the happiness of a scientific 
view of life. Enlightenment also meant the bourgeois endeavour to rule the 
world by way of encyclopaedic registration, now as a visual thesaurus. This 
disposition of public enlightenment conveys a rightful coldness against the 
individual and its perceptions which may be traced back to the rationalised 
conveys of socialist modernity. This is not so distant from what, on the one 
hand, was applauded by the antimetaphysical spirit of the principles of life 
proclaimed in the Wissenschaftliche Weltauffassung and, on the other hand, 
what drove people into the warming bosom of National Socialism.

Now, the mediation of universal ideas in an unambiguous form and based on 
utter consistency is indeed a rationalistic phantasma which may well fit in 
some technical fields of application. In the ideas of technocrats, and only 
there, the flawless transmission is seen as a precondition for successful 
communication. As soon as contemporary communication theory was ready to 
withdraw from behaviouristic restrictions it had to admit that not only 
unambiguities are mostly communicated but also and always redundancies, 
conflicts and misunderstandings - noise! In addition, language does not let 
itself be reduced to a uniform structure of meaning and purposes, however 
limited they may be (i.e. scientific-technical), without abstracting from 
the historical dimension and cultural context of language, and therefore 
from where it is alive. 

And finally, can a tool itself be enlightening? In my view, this is not 
really the case. Goebbel's ministry also worked with extremely advanced 
public relation methods. Neurath's method of picture statistics is in itself 
not immune to ideological influence. This is also shown, I believe, in the 
applicability of the picture-statistical method in Stalinist Russia. The 
reduction of symbols to their quantitative content leads to propagandist 
methods of representation. Following the principles of the Viennese Method, 
the propaganda films prepared for the British government no longer display 
formal characteristics that would have prevented them from serving National 
Socialist or Stalinist propaganda. As Stephen Toulmin writes in his recent 
work "Cosmopolis", no technical system or method in itself can guarantee 
that it will be applied humanely or rationally. It is one thing to perfect a 
tool and altogether another to ensure that it will be used in a just, 
morally tenable and rational way.


Having enjoyed the apostrophe of a 'carefree thinker', did Neurath run some 
risk with his mission of becoming a victim of scientific 
self-misunderstanding here? He consistently translated the problematics of 
representation, at which every interdisciplinary project of his time 
laboured, according to the rules of a substitutional code mutating from 
persuasive rhetoric of enlightenment to propaganda and from visual 
scientific representation to advertisement. But subsequent to McLuhan, it 
has been argued that a new type of 'sign synthesis' gradually replaced 
argumentative-linear decoding at the turn of the century on the grounds of 
new media hardware. Seen in this context, Neurath's approach is less novel 
than rather, in a certain sense, historically consistent by optimising one 
communicational function. With this in mind, the general revalorization of 
picture-statistical methods from the close of the 19th century proved 
accommodating to Neurath.

Many recent approaches in the philosophy of media have precisely been 
extracting this aspect anew: computerised network culture counts as hope for 
unproblematic communication on the basis of an increased iconicity which 
transcends culture and language beyond the exclusive reign of typographic 
script. Generated by computer technology, and enhanced by telematic 
applications, a new design of knowledge is revolutionising language culture, 
whereby discerning appearances tend to replace the exclusive linear coding 
of speech and script.

"We return to the inclusive form of the icon", McLuhan stated 1964 in his 
"Understanding Media". The diagnosis he gave of TV featured a medium which 
represents, informs and entertains in new ways, beyond the typographic order 
of the alphabet. As an analyst, he was not the first and not the only one to 
know that media literacy in society would change. Neurath now is an 
outstanding example for the belief that this change can actively be managed 
through new forms of applied design and media education. As his work 
demonstrates, there may be forms of iconic communication (and our social 
world is deeply saturated with these forms) which are more convincing and 
possibly more suitable in a postmodern world than the linear argument.

P.S.: Otto Neurath published articles, papers and charts, not books. Due to 
emigration forced by Austrian Fascism, he designed work for the American 
National Tuberculosis Association, for Compton's Encyclopedia, and there are 
three original Publications in English:
International Picture Language, London: Keagan Paul 1936
Modern Man in the Making, New York: Knopf 1939
>From Hieroglyphs to Isotypes, London: Future Books, 1946

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