Dana Smith has created a book that is inspired by the I Ching, a Chinese book originating about 2500 years ago often used as an oracle. The I Ching is the result of a system of 64 hexagrams, where each one defines an archetypical event or universal experience of living. Each hexagram is comprised of two trigrams positioned one above the other. Each trigram is made of three lines where the line is either broken or solid. If one calculates all the possible combinations of the two choices, broken or solid, in groups of three stacked in a vertical pile, the total number of possible combinations is eight. Therefore the fundamental building blocks of the I Ching are the eight Ba Gua, or trigrams, defined as Qian or heaven, Kun or earth, Li or fire, Kan or water, Xun or wind, Zhen or thunder, Dui or lake, and Gen or mountain. The book, Later Heaven contains subjective illustrations of these eight trigrams using photo-collage and poetry derived from translations of the ancient text. The book reflects the way the I Ching combines the trigrams into sixty-four hexagrams by combining two trigrams, one stacked on the other, by having two sets of pages bound one above the other using two spines so that the upper set of pages can be turned or read separately from the lower set of pages. Thus the eight trigram’s illustrations can be mixed and combined in 64 different ways by the reader. The book is called “Later Heaven”, after a name of one of the many possible ways of sequencing the Ba Gua.
Dana Smith, Currently lives and maintains a studio in San Francisco, California, USA. In 2004 Dana Smith founded a fine arts digital press called Dana Dana Dana with a focus on very small edition, hand-made books, and digital monoprints that combine traditional mediums such as drawing and painting, silkscreen, woodcut, or stencil, with digital media. The books and print editions have traveled to book fairs and galleries and museum exhibitions world wide, and are housed in libraries and private collections internationally, including: The Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts at The Legion of Honor in San Francisco, CA, The Victoria and Albert Museum, London, Standford University, and Library of Congress, among others.