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May 2, 2016
The Eames scion and "geographer-at-large" traverses the globe on behalf of Kcymaerxthaere, a network of markers and monuments that tells fictional tales about real-life communities.
Eames Demetrios of Kcymaerxthaere

Led by Eames Office director Eames Demetrios, Kcymaerxthaere installs markers, usually accompanied by text recounting fictional events, in communities all over the world. 

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Kcymaerxthaere marker

The stories are carved into bronze, concrete, or stone markers in the local language plus English. 

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Kcymaerxthaere work-in-progress

Currently, Kcymaerxthaere is raising funds via Indiegogo to translate the stories into nine additional languages, collect them in a book, and send them to schools and libraries in the communities where markers are located. 

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Eames Demetrios of Kcymaerxthaere

Led by Eames Office director Eames Demetrios, Kcymaerxthaere installs markers, usually accompanied by text recounting fictional events, in communities all over the world. 

For more than a decade, Eames Demetrios' labor of love has been Kcymaerxthaere, a "parallel universe" of his own creation that exists alongside ours in three dimensions. The project is made up of installations in 26 countries, from Iceland to Armenia, each telling a different part of an interconnected work of fiction, written by Demetrios. The narrative is designed to unfold across space, weaving bonds between disparate locales. Demetrios spoke with us about the enduring value of storytelling and his Indiegogo campaign to make Kcymaerxthaere accessible in more languages. 

What is Kcymaerxthaere about?

It’s a global work of multidimensional storytelling. I go around to install these markers that honor the fictional world and our world. It’s kind of a novel with a different page in every place. It’s a way to tell a story, but it’s also a way of helping people look at the world fresh.

Why did you start this project?

I got involved because I kept thinking, “Wouldn’t it be cool if you could visit a story?” I always liked roadside attractions as a kid and I’ve always been fascinated by markers by the side of the road. It’s been an amazing journey: we have 122 sites in 26 countries. As the community gets bigger, there are people who travel to them, but it’s also a local-facing experience.

How do you decide the locations and the stories?

The stories are ones that I write. One thing that people sometimes think when they first hear of Kcymaerxthaere is that it's a reinterpretation of the local history. It’s not. There’s a whole body of public art where you go into a community, hear their stories, and create something together. That can be really awesome, it’s just not what I’m doing. What I want to do is create a new layer that looks at these communities fresh. In other words, it’s a connection all around the world, but it’s not through politics, money, or religion. It’s through story.

Why is storytelling important to you?

Nobody sits down to tell stories anymore. We get hyper-mediated stories through movies or TV shows. There’s nothing wrong with those, I watch those stories too. But this is kind of an old-fashioned storytelling. We talk a lot about virtual reality these days. There’s already a virtual reality that happens through language and I wanted to take advantage of that. Most of the markers we do have stories on them and they’re always in the local language plus English.

What can you tell us about the current Indiegogo campaign?

What the campaign is about is this: In Lithuania, we have two markers. Those stories connect to others all over the world, but if you don’t know English, all you really know in Lithuania are those two markers. You’re excluded from the rest of the story. So what I wanted to do is translate every marker into every language of every country a marker is in, then give that book to the communities’ libraries and schools to create a way for them to connect all the stories. I want to create an analog object in the community that everyone can read.

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