William M. Ivins - Prints and Visual CommunicationI became aware that the backward countries of the world are and have been those that have not learned to take full advantage of the possibilities of pictorial statement and communication, and that many of the most characteristic ideas and abilities of our western civilization have been intimately related to our skills exactly to repeat pictorial statements and communications.”

These are the introductory words to the first chapter titled “The blocked road to pictorial communication” in William M. Ivins’ book “Prints and Visual Communication“. While I would agree to the thought that many ideas and cultural values of the western civilisation have been proposed and developed in a close bond with the ability to repeat pictorial statements and communicatios, I started to ponder about the first part. Backward countries? If you call countries backward, how do you define the “forward direction”? Furthermore: assuming that there is something like a backward country: Is it true that such countries did not take full advantage of pictorial statements?