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[BKARTS] Jim Canary & Tibetan books



<http://www.futureofthebook.org/blog/archives/2005/08/the_light_of_th.html>


I found the above link on Boingboing.net <http://www.boingboing.net>




Here's most of the text:

Jim Canary has over sixty of hours of video, taken during his trips
to Tibet, documenting the monastic printing process. He plans to edit
and publish the video as a CD Rom in tandem with a print book. He
showed us some selections, which I do not have, so I will do my best
to describe them. Video #1: a man sits on the stone steps outside the
temple. There are two tall stacks of paper next to him and a bowl of
water in front of him. He is preparing the paper for printing, taking
one sheet from the top of the pile, passing it through a pan of water
and placing it on top of the other pile. He has hundreds of sheets to
dampen, so he is working in a brisk rhythmic manner. When he's
finished, the stack will be pressed between two wooden blocks. Video
#2: printing takes place in a building across from the temple. The
printing is done in teams of two. One man holds the hand-carved
wooden block and prepares it with ink. His partner places each damp
sheet on the wooden block for burnishing, then removes it and sets it
aside to dry. The men work quickly in tandem, surrounded by the music
of monks chanting in the temple next door. The tone and rhythm of the
chant matches the rhythm of their work. It is designed to correspond
with the heart beat, and it works to knit all participants together
into a single, metaphorical "body" which is, in turn, joined to all
humanity through the meditation. The result of all this unity is a
book, shaped like a body, which will be housed, along with hundreds
of others, in the temple walls.

Mr. Canary's presentation was also about the future of these mystical
books, which are being cataloged, preserved, reproduced and
distributed using digital technology. Some monks are now working on
laptops, transcribing text and burning DVDs. Here is an excerpt from
a poem written by one of the monks in praise of digital materials,
which, in his eyes, are as exquiste as a patina made from lamp black,
Yakskin glue, and brains, burnished to a gloss and inscribed with an
ink made from crushed pearls and silver are to me.

?The light of the disk is endless
like the light of the disks in the sky, sun and moon.

With a single push of our finger on a button
We pull up the shining gems of text?

-Gelek Rinpoche



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