So what is Kcymaerxthaere?
Kcymaerxthaere is the name of an alternative universe that co-exists to some degree with ours. It was–and continues to be–presented by Geographer-at-Large Eames Demetrios. Its name comes from two Cognate words: kcymaara, which means the true physicality of the planet, and the word xthaere, which is a shape with almost an infinity of dimensions or sides— infinity minus 29, to be precise. This parallel world is largely consistent in certain ways with our physical world, but with different stories, creatures, rules, even laws of physics.
Kcymaerxthaere is also the name of Demetrios’ storytelling art project installing markers and historical sites that honor events from this parallel world in our world. Most include written stories (in bronze, concrete and stone usually)—but it is not only what is written but where you experience reading the story (and, often, the forms). Some installations are fairly elaborate—one is even a building, another a couple hundred yards long. One of the ideas of the project is to create a storytelling experience where you could visit something that does not exactly exist tangibly—but do it in a way that prioritizes wise technology over smart technology. You don’t need a high-tech virtual reality helmet to experience a Kcymaerxthaere site in the middle of the desert—now or in 100 years. All you need is that the installation is there and that you can read it (or someone can read it to you)—and you’ve got a fulcrum with another world.
Our first marker was installed in Athens, Georgia (US) on July 31, 2003. The latest is one entitled, Flyover Country, under the Wheeler Road Flyover in linear Bengaluru, India. As of now, 143.5 installations have been installed in 30 linear countries. (The .5 refers to an installation planned for the Moon. Alas, it has not been installed as of this exhibition. And there are plenty more markers to be done on Earth.). If you consider the Kcymaerxthaere project to be like a novel with every page (and sometimes chapter) in a different place, then far less than a quarter of those pages are out in the world.
A comment from the Geographer-at-Large:
One of the things that I have seen after doing this for a while, is that it creates a new set of connections between people, places and communities. Most connections we have are based on business, or politics (in the broadest sense), or faith, or family—and those can be very beautiful. They are familiar in a wonderful way. But the connection from Kcymaerxthaere is more serendipitous—just because these places happen to have a vast, 140 piece (and growing) artwork experienced in common.
There is another part that is important: these stories and installations help people see things that are not yet there. That sounds funny, but if you think about it, just about all the most important things in your life–family, career, projects, the business you may have started– didn’t exist before they did exist. So, even though we are often told to be practical and focus on what’s right in front of us, seeing the things that aren’t there can really be quite important. And the experience of the stories of Kcymaerxthaere can help us begin to see our own possibilities and the world itself afresh.