From August to September, Eames Demetrios, Geographer-at-Large for Kcymaerxthaere, is serving as the Geographer-in-Residence at Atlas Obscura. Here he explores the lines between Kcymaerxthaere, a world parallel to our own, and Atlas Obscura.
Since our communities enjoy finding wonder out in the world, Atlas Obscura and Kcymaerxthaere have a couple of public activities in mind for this Geographer-in-Residency. From the beginning, it seemed like a road trip would be a perfect Atlas Obscura event — especially since the story of the Tehachapi is so important to Kcymaerxthaere. So let me tell you about our Atlas Obscura/Kcymaerxthaere Caravan (or Kcy-ravan if you prefer!) this September 27th and 28th.
Folks on a road trip to a Kcymaerxthaere site in Joshua Tree, California
We’re going to have a weekend of three-dimensional storytelling across three great Great Lake States culminating in a Spelling Bee that features words from the parallel world of Kcymaerxthaere! We’ll stop at nine Kcymaerxthaere Markers, one Kcy Historical site, see another in process, enjoy a Disputed Likeness exhibition, and groove on that 9th Annual Kcymaerxthaere All-Kymaericas Spelling Bee. At the Spelling Bee, you can be in the audience or, even more fun, compete for the cash prize by spelling words from the parallel world. The prize is 100 US Dollars (since no winner yet has accepted Kcy dollars).
For two days, the stories of Kcymaerxthaere will reveal themselves in myriad ways — always with the Geographer-at-Large (yours truly!) as your personal guide and storyteller. It is not simply a tour of sites, it is a saga of some of the great overarching narratives of the xthaere. Icons like Culev Larsze, the woman who was so clever she tricked the Gods into not helping their believers; communities forced to license their very form of government; Forrest Bess, a man disaggregated in time while crossing a ywreng (or time frontier); the unexpected tale of New Singapore; the courage of Gevrian Milam; and the many journeys of Amory Frontage. And much more.
Reenactors recreating the arrival of Amory Frontage & his followers at a new Paris.
The trip is free (well, not really, you DO have to pay for your own gas and food and whatnot — but WE won’t charge!), but we do ask you to register so we can co-ordinate a magical experience. You will need to provide your own wheels (it will be a caravan) and buy your own meals — though we have found reasonably priced places for each meal where we can all go together. We also offer the tours a la carte — just one day at a time if that is better for you!
If you are based in the Michigan area — or are visiting for the marvelous ArtPrize experience — you can start bright and early Saturday. I’ll share the interwoven stories of Kcymaerxthaere as we visit the five markers in downtown Grand Rapids.
The Erailen Gwome marker where the tour starts in downtown Grand Rapids
There is something wondrous in telling and hearing stories in the very places great things happened in the parallel world, with the markers there to anchor the narratives. And when you add to that the magical spectacle of ArtPrize, it will be a unique experience. This group of five markers is one of only four clusters of Kcy installations we have around the world. (A cluster is a few markers close enough together that one almost experiences its stories in unison). So it is a perfect place to take intrepid explorers.
Forest’s Rest Marker along the Grand River (sometimes called the Lekcenne)
Then we’ll head to Holland and Saugatuck — two other towns in west Michigan. If you choose to to head back to Grand Rapids after these first seven markers — we will miss you, but we’ll give you a fond farewell as the rest of us head South to the Crossroads of Kymaerica in Indiana and after that to beautiful New Harmony, Indiana, where you’ll see the latest work on our next big installation: A Healing Palindrome.
Detail of plan for A Healing Palindrome, work-in-progress in New Harmony, Indiana
The full day of storytelling coincides with the last day of the Kcymaerxthaere show at the New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art. This show focuses on depictions of Kcymaerxthaere stories from around the world — we call these Disputed Likenesses. Some have been done locally, others in Namibia, Singapore, Armenia, and places around the world. We’ll ask you to contribute at least one postcard yourself.
Locally contributed interpretation of A Healing Palindrome, with embroideries & works on wall of New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art
After a good night’s sleep, on the second day we’ll head out Sunday morning to Paris, Illinois, where we will see the Faerie Traces marker and then Embassy Row of the Parisian Diaspora, which has one of my favorites vistas in the whole project — the corridor of color.
Embassy Row of the Parisian Diaspora (Paris, Illinois)
And then it will be time for the Spelling Bee. I hope you’ll be doing some last minute study as you prepare to triumph! You’ll even get a free Kcymaerxthaere t-shirt from Teri, the proprietor of Teri’s Threads.
Spelling bee in action
And if you can’t make it this weekend, we’ll be tweeting and instagramming the whole time. And, the good news, you can do most of it any time on your own — with Atlas Obscura as your guide. See you there!