Kandze Village Bodhisattva: Nine Iterations
By Clifton Meador
Chicago: Clifton Meador, 2012.

6 x 9"; 52 pages. Offset printed. Pamphlet stitch bound. Slipped in letterpress printed dust jacket.

Cliff Meador : "This is one of three books that is based on work I did in Ganze Autonomous Prefecture. I was there as part of an interdisciplinary research team, documenting traditional Tibetan book culture, and much of the information we collected has never been published. I spent part of this summer [2012] printing these books that explore ideas of iteration and repetition that are connected to the practice of traditional Tibetan book production."

The book unfolds to two page-sized flaps. Inside the left flap is bound Nine Iterations, a 13-page booklet. The booklet's first spread has an arrangement (abstract? a pattern?) of numbers and page numbers (e.g. page 14 is above the number 6). The succeeding pages detail nine parts of a narrative, gradually accumulating detail and meaning with each telling. In the text some words are given numbers (something is 1, bridge is 2 …).

Nested within the right flap is a book of photographs, delicate grays with green and yellow overtones. These photographs depict the narrative recounted in the booklet, Nine Iterations, each photo showing a portion of that narrative. Certain things in the photographs are labeled by numbers. These numbers correspond to the numbers in the booklet narrative. By working back and forth between the text and the images and using the key provided in the arrangement in the first spread of the booklet, one can understand that each iteration (be it by word or by image) is a partial representation of the whole experience.

This is clever version of the parable of the blind men and the elephant, where each version is true but incomplete.