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  • Lovely Language, words divide images unite

    Communication, Communication Design

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    Urtrecht Manifest is a biannual focussing on social design. In 2005 was the first edition. In 2007 I was asked to make the program for edition 2007. Within an international context and a small concept driven energetic group of individuals we where able to realise an interesting chain of exhibitions, workshops, documentary screenings and discussions. A one day theory program with lectures of among others Enzo Mari, Braungart, Fiona Raby was sold out.

    The main exhibition Lovely Language in the Centraal Museum Utrecht was vsiited by almost 30.000 visitors. In the 1920s, the Austrian sociologist Otto Neurath (1882–1945) developed an international visual language, for which the German-Dutch graphic artist Gerd Arntz (1900–1988) designed more than 4,000 pictograms. Neurath’s motto – ‘words divide, images unite’ – is the point of departure for the Lovely Language exhibition. Many of the duo’s designs were the forebears of pictograms we now encounter everywhere, such as the man and woman on toilet doors. How tenable is the ‘ISOTYPE’ (International System of Typographic Picture Education) by Neurath and Arntz in the 21st century? Lovely Language presents Neurath and Arntz’s visual language and the way it was employed as the basis for the development of an international visual language. Also on show is recent and inspiring work at the frontiers of word and image by Mieke Gerritzen, Koert van Mensvoort, the British-Finnish artist Charles Sandison and others.

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