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Schaubilder. Operative Images and Visual Communication

Project leader:
Katharina Steidl (IKW)

4 years (extended until 31.10.2024)

Funded by:
Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW) | APART-GSK

Contact the project:

Katharina Steidl, Institute for Art Theory and Cultural Studies
Duration: 1.3.2020 – 31.10.2024

The topic of my investigation is the pictorial representation of knowledge and its impact in the time period between 1920 and 1950. This investigation will examine various previously unexplored cases in the United States in the areas of picture pedagogics and information design by employing cultural, visual and museum study methods.

My objective consists of developing a comprehensive cultural history of the Schaubild, thus embracing image media that offered visual guidance or visualization in the form of diagrams or graphics on display boards. Thereby, I shall analyze said cases in-depth and interweave them with the rationalization principles of scientific management. The central thesis being pursued is that working methods such as the flow chart, which were developed in the field of management studies, were transferred into other disciplinary fields, such as graphic design, where operational thinking methods resulted in the idea of visual efficiency. This concept involves the organization of the picture plane according to standardized design principles.