I stumbled into the Kcymaerxthaere four or five years ago during otherwise normal interwebby grazing, confused and intrigued by that weird jumble of mostly consonants and the expansive world that lay beyond them. That induction process (about this plaque) sent me on a quest to find that plaque and some underlying meaning for this mystery wrapped up in letters I had no idea how to pronounce. Upon my first attempt to see that first plaque, I failed in locating it (I didn't snoop 'round the back of the store. At that point, in my defense, information about the Kcymaerxthaere and locations of plaques was scant/mysterious at best), but I did manage to buy volumes 4 and 6 (the only ones published in our linear world) of guidebooks to the Kcymaerxthaere from Meltdown. These guidebook purchases made me increasingly obsessive about the whole alternate history of the Kcymaerxthaere. As you have seen in previous posts, we have seen in person a few of these pieces of that alternate world in the years between that interwebby intro and now (including the one on the back of Meltdown). After reading this article, I began thinking about having Eames (Demetrios, grandson of those Eames) discover what Kcy history there may be undiscovered in my hometown of Visalia (for reasons that are summed up pretty well in that Believer article, but which I will get into later in this post).
After obsessing about the idea of having a piece of Kcy history uncovered in Visalia, I set about a relentless email campaign, sending off emails to my close circle of email people, who eventually connected me to both Eames and the Arts Consortium people in Visalia. After many exchanges between the above mentioned parties and connecting them to each other in that digital world, a meeting was scheduled in Visalia at the beginning of 2013, so that Eames could explain in person the Kcymaerxthaere to the Arts Consortium people and give them an idea of what could possibly be discovered in Visalia, should they approve Kcy investigations in the area. Melissa and I drove up for the occasion (narrowly missing a grapevine closure due to snow, see picture above. That might have been the last time there was significant precipitation 'round these parts). Eames was in true Eames form (rapid fire stories upon stories, Kcy lingo with little to no context or explanation woven into that story telling cyclone and "linear" histoical knowledge also interweaving with Kcy history) and watching the Arts Consortium ladies trying to wrap their minds around it all was hilarious because it was quite a familiar state of being to what we had experienced when we first encountered the project/Eames himself. It was a bit worrying to see their faces during this presentation because they were the ones who would allow it all to happen and I wasn't sure if they were into the idea of bringing a piece of this world to Visalia, much less understanding anything that Eames was saying.
Granted, having the Geographer At Large explain large swaths of this world, rapid fire and not slowing down to explain the more esoteric aspects of his speech/that world, would be daunting for anyone not familiar with that world. When our meeting ended, however, the Consortium people seemed genuinely open to it all and another meeting was scheduled for a few months later, to give everyone involved a chance to soak in more of the 'xthaere and to try and wrap their minds around it a bit more.
We walked out of the meeting, into the rain cleared and clearing air, skies all parting to the more normal blues, and were met with a clear sign that our meeting was blessed.
With potentialities swirling about our brains, we then drove into the foothills above Visalia to take in the post rain clarity and greenish beauty of Three Rivers and the surrounding wilds.
Melissa cape-hid her excitement during our dampish strolling
and we found another harbinger of good fortune as we thought about what Kcy stories may lay dormant in that Central Valley homeland
I Bone masked some cow parts
and we came upon some plaque'd history that could have come straight from the 'xthaere itself.
Not quite the smallest, but diminutive postal institute, indeed
Four hundred and eighty souls still up there
Between the above photos and the ones below, there is a two and a half year gap that contains more meetings between Eames and the Arts Consortium people (that we unfortunately could not make it up for, hence no photo proofs to post here), more emails and planning, frustration, planning, frustration, grants awarded, silence, planning and at very long last a finalized location/design/installation date. On June 19th of this year, we headed up into the brutal (yet nostalgic, for me at least) early summer heat of the Central Valley to attend the dedication of the marker/site, not quite believing it was actually happening until we came upon the scenes pictorially described below. Directly below, you will find fresh concrete awaiting the realized Kcy Visalia history in bronze plaque form (thus connecting that smallish hamlet of my youth to stories uncovered in such far flung places as Armenia, Indonesia and Singapore, as well as acting as a sister site to the only other plaque installed in the Central Valley).
Momentous moment, setting the plaque into that language shape.
At the dedication, Caroline Koontz (of Arts Consortium fame) and her progeny take care of the concrete curing process, pre-dedication.
Melissa and co, awaiting the dedication
Eames arrived at the site at last and almost immediately launched into a storytelling frenzy. Below you will find him in the midst of weaving stories, enlightening us about some of the adventures Eliala Mei Ning had while in what we call Visalia.
"As you all know..."
Confused/intrigued bafflement from the locals
We then launched into a lovely rendition of "Kymaerica, Sambamba Dier" to make the dedication official.
Two and a half years in the making, Visalia's Kcy history was finally able to be told in concrete and brass and Kcy numbers swirling within the greater language-shape itself. It was such a surreal occasion to behold and having those years of emails and meetings and planning finally materialize was a gratifying experience, to say the least.
Something about the Fibonacci sequence...
A close up on the Kcy numbers that Eames 3D printed and then pressed into the fresh 'crete
Strolling the historic (in both our linear as well as Kcy worlds) core of Visalia to a celebratory gala at the newly reonvated home of the Arts consortium.
After said celebratory gala, we returned to the site in order to retrieve those 3D printed Kcy numbers from the grip of the drying concrete. Eames set to work in the dying light.
The indentions looked splendidly formed
Soon I had to assist via iphone light
The next morning, Melissa and I helped further the curing process
Shape worded world creation at last in its rightful place
When I was struck with the idea for Eames to potentially find a piece of the greater Kcymaerxthaereal history in Visalia a few years back, I was initially encouraged to do so by the ideas presented in the article in the Believer (which I hope you have read through by now) about how, among many other facets of this project, the 'xthaere opens up channels of imagination, specific to place, as well as how it undermines our notions of history in very interesting ways and makes us (well, me at least) re-consider the process of history making in general. Even though people have gone to great lengths to record the history of Visalia, I still felt that there was plentiful room for this project in Visalia and the imaginations/cultural landscapes that therein lie. I had no idea at the beginning of this journey that by the time a piece of the 'xthaere finally came to (in physical form, at least. One could argue it was always there) Visalia it would coincide so closely with those roots that I have in the city/region getting torn up. Shortly before i got word of the official install date of the plaque, I was made aware of an eventual parental relocation. Because of this eventual relocation, and abandoning of the ancestral manse in Visalia, every time we journey to it, my parents task me with going through boxes of crap of mine that they have stored for twenty or so years in their garage, to lighten the eventual load that they will be moving northward.
This process was revelatory in many different ways that are perhaps too personal to rehash here, but that whole process of purging (well, bundling up to take down to long beach to reuse) historical documents of my youth that I engaged in after seeing the historical Kcy-Visalia historical project come to fruition felt quite profound indeed. I will probably be digging around in it all for years to come for meaning, but having something lasting come to that place that I had a hand in making happen, while what I did know there for so long got stamped with an exit date, made that whole mess of emotions a little bit easier to handle, somehow.
Melissa somehow found herself amongst it all
We checked back in on the 'crete, now fully cured and showing its true colors
Such a lovely, fitting tribute to a place that, at various points in my life, acted as a place of refuge. The story lines converge, linear and otherwise, and I am thankful that they have.