November 06, 2014 at 06:02AM
"Modern man receives a large part of his knowledge through pictorial impressions. Words separate, pictures unite." -- Otto Neurath #readingToday

Otlet's concept of syndicated museum displays owed a large debt to Otto Neurath, the Viennese philosopher and sociologist. The two had met while preparing for an exhibition in Geneva in 1928, in which Otlet presented his Atlas of Civilization. Neurath had come to Geneva to exhibit the visualizations he had created in his capacity as director of the Vienna-based Museum of Society and philosopher and sociologist. The two had met while preparing for an exhibition in Geneva in 1928, in which Otlet presented his Atlas of Civilization. Neurath had come to Geneva to exhibit the visualizations he had created in his capacity as director of the Vienna-based Museum of Society and Economy. He had founded the museum in 1925, with a mission to educate the working classes about issues of economics, health, education, and any number of other topics relevant to their daily lives: from unemployment and alcoholism to tuberculosis and the value of sports. The museum marked an important departure from typical museums of the day, insofar as Neurath saw the museum in a growing competition for attention with the attractions of film and other forms of popular entertainment. 35 Whereas traditional century curators resisted such popularization, Neurath embraced it as a positive social good. "Modern man receives a large part of his knowledge through pictorial impressions," wrote Neurath, observing the proliferation of photographs, lantern slides, daily newspapers, and film that continued to proliferate throughout modern society. 36 He believed this emerging visual culture offered enormous potential for improving the quality of human communication. He proposed a new approach to "pictorial statistics" that eliminated the discursiveness of written language and opened up the possibilities of communication to a much larger audience of people from anywhere in the world. As he put it in his oft-quoted slogan: "Words separate, pictures unite."

Cataloging the World, Alex James´╗┐