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Abstract

This paper examines projects in universal communication from the interwar period, including Charles Kay Ogden’s Basic English, Otto Neurath’s Isotype, and László Moholy-Nagy’s typo-photo. The projects under discussion — experiments in language reform, graphic design and photography — were all born from a dissatisfaction with the imprecise, arbitrary and historically-contingent nature of established languages and semiotic systems. A non-arbitrary mode of communication was sought, one that represented reality directly without translation through a cultural code.

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