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Project Statement

by C. Meador

The Nameless Dead is based on photographs taken in Uzbekistan in 2000. The town in the book is a highly fictionalized version of an actual city in Western Uzbekistan: Khiva. I was struck by the futility of the Soviet tourism project there, the attempt to create travel opportunities for soviet citizens, who were largely unable to leave the Soviet Union. Russia had a long, complex involvement with Central Asia. Nineteenth century Russian painters had used Central Asia as subject matter: the mounds of heads created by the vicious rulers of the area, the picturesquely crumbling tiled architecture, the brightly colored native clothing demonstrate how, for many Russians, Central Asia was emphatically other. This view of Central Asia, coupled with a sense of competition with England, were all parts of an argument that lead up to Russia’s conquest and colonization of Central Asia. After the fall of communism and the breakup of the Soviet Union, the fantastically poor dictatorship of Uzbekistan (Islam Karimov is an old apparatchik who has found Islam—in a mild way—and has become a capitalist too!) continued the effort to make Khiva into a museum city. It was so surreal, a supposed tourist destination located in a remote, lifeless desert, empty of tourists, that I could not resist this as a subject for a book. Given the lifelessness of the desert, the empty town, and the futile attempt to create a tourist attraction, I naturally thought about death and the afterlife. The history of the Russian Imperialism in Central Asia was an important part of my interest in making this book, but not obviously part of the narrative I had written, so I wrote a small guidebook to the history of the Russian involvement in Central Asia and printed as part of the book. This little book within a book did not exist other than as computer files until after I had printed the book. The typeface, Cahaba, is named after another futile attempt to create a tourist attraction, the first capital of Alabama, which was abandoned during the nineteenth century.

The Nameless Dead

Clifton Kirkpatrick Meador


Clifton Kirkpatrick Meador

type: initiating

Typeface designer

born: United States

birth: 1957-09-26

Publication Information

publisher: PABA Publications

conception: 2000-08-15
production: 2004-03-10:2004-08-00
publication: 2004-10-00

Aesthetic Profile


travel literature (AAT)

themes: Death, travel, orientalism, soviet tourism, Central Asia, memory [C.Meador]

content form:
visual narrative (local)

publication tradition:
multiples (AAT)
artists' book (local)

inspiration: Books like Thirty five years/one week by Linn Underhill (1981) where narrative and image are seamlessly integrated. [C.Meador]

related works: The Nameless Dead is part of a group of travel and history inspired books: Whisky Defense (2001), Memory Lapse (1999). Narrative voice of the first part of the book was inspired by the novel, Buffalo Soldiers by Robert O'Connor. [C.Meador]

reception history: Reviewed by Nancy Princethal in ArtonPaper, November/December 2005 Vol. 10, No. 2

Related Documents

manuscript type: other

location: artist's archive

note: A large number of photographs.