Picture language and other things: The materiality of Isotype
Henning, M. (2008) Picture language and other things: The materiality of Isotype. In: Network of Design, Conference of the design history society, University College Falmouth, 2 - 6 September 2008.
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In 2005 Bruno Latour and Peter Wiebel used Isotype charts to conclude their exhibition Making Things Public at the ZKM Centre in Karlsruhe. They contrasted Isotype to their own vision of things as assemblages, disputed states of affairs, and actants. Isotype stood for the quintessentially modernist political vision, represented as things that were "delineated, discrete objects … bathing in some translucent space" . Against this, I argue that Isotype can be usefully considers as an assemblage using Latours own notion, and ask how this affects our reading of the modern.