Pictorial statistics and the Vienna Method

book cover, Ivan Ivanitskii, 1932, 180 x 260 mm, (I.C. 10.3) | read more...

In 1931 Otto Neurath, Marie Reidemeister and Gerd Arntz traveled to Moscow to assist the Soviet authorities in establishing an institute for pictorial statistics and to train Soviet designers and technicians in the Vienna Method. The institute, which existed from 1931 until 1940, was named the 'All-union institute of pictorial statistics of Soviet construction and economy' (Всесоюзный институт изобразительной статистики советского строительства и хозяйства), commonly abbreviated to IZOSTAT (ИЗОСТАТ).

The image above shows the cover of the book Pictorial statistics and the Vienna Method (Изобразительная статистика и венский метод), published in 1932. It was the work of Ivan Petrovich Ivanitskii, a Russian employee of IZOSTAT who worked with Neurath and his colleagues during their time in Moscow. In it Ivanitskii explains to his readers why the Vienna Method, or 'Dr Neurath's method' as he sometimes calls it, is superior to other forms of pictorial statistics. He also provides examples from the then recently published Gesellschaft und Wirtschaft.

In studying the work of Otto Neurath in the Soviet Union and the development of IZOSTAT, this book is invaluable. It provides examples of Soviet experimentation in pictorial statistics, and shows Ivanitskii's own modifications to the Vienna Method. It offers evidence of the important role pictorial statistics would play in the USSR for asserting the achievements of the First and Second Five Year Plans in the 1930s. As its preface concluded: 'Pictorial statistics should be a powerful instrument for mass agitation and propaganda in the hands of the party and for the working class.' (EM)

area of research: the Izostat Institute, Moscow (Minns)

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