Fritz Kahn: Man as Machine and the Birth of Infographics
Fritz Kahn (1888–1968) was a German physician and prolific popular science writer known for pioneering infographics. He wrote on a range of topics, from the Milky Way to the atom, and often used startling metaphors, both verbal and visual, to make complex principles of nature and technology comprehensible to layman readers. In The Life of Man, an encyclopedic work of 1600 pages and 1200 illustrations, Kahn depicts biology as industrial and mechanical processes. Adopting avant-garde visual techniques and contemporary styles like Neue Sachlichkeit, Dada, Surrealism, and Constructivist photomontage, he draws comparisons between the energetic processes of the human body and those of automobiles, buildings, electric lights, furnaces, and more.