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'Showing at one view': Ferdinand Boberg's 'statistical machinery' and the visionary pedagogy of early twentieth-century statistical display
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of History of Science and Ideas.
2008 (English)In: Early Popular Visual Culture, ISSN 1746-0654, Vol. 6, no 1, 35-50 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article highlights the educational and intermedial discourses that developed around the representation of statistics in museums and temporary exhibitions in the early twentieth century. It is especially concerned with pictorial representations of statistics and the visual realism that were attributed to the statistical media by educational reformers. The article also aims to discuss how experimentation with statistical displays around the turn of the twentieth century can be related to other media usages in the same period. In this perspective, the article describes two statistical pavilions erected by the Swedish architect Ferdinand Boberg for temporary exhibitions in Helsingborg in 1903 and Stockholm in 1909. On these occasions, Boberg developed a figurative method of representing statistics using moving models, or what he referred to as a 'statistical machinery'. This work drew on popular forms of picture statistics, but also on a much wider range of fairground attractions. At the 1909 exhibition, the statistical pavilion was placed in the entertainments section, next to staged enactments and rides, and it is argued that it was from these amusements that Boberg copied and refined techniques to attract the attention of the audience. In the conclusion of the article, there is a brief discussion on the educational, political and aesthetic visions that developed around the statistical museums at the beginning of the twentieth century, and especially in relation to the picture statistics developed by Otto Neurath.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 6, no 1, 35-50 p.
Keyword [en]
statistical display, history of museums and temporary exhibitions, pedagogy, visual realism
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URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-139791DOI: 10.1080/17460650801947879ISI: 000264286800003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-139791DiVA: diva2:382088
Available from: 2010-12-29 Created: 2010-12-29 Last updated: 2016-05-13Bibliographically approved

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Ekström, Anders
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