Erailen Gwome – Grand Rapids, Michigan - Atlas Obscura
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Erailen Gwome

Fountain and Division

At Fountain and Division, in the shadow of Kendall College of Art and Design, lays the story of a culture whose political system was used under license and who finally rebelled. 


Created by Geographer-at-Large Eames Demetrios, Kcymaerxthaere is a “parallel universe that intersects with much of our linear Earth, but with different stories, creatures, peoples, even laws of physics and qualities of existence.”  It has been likened to a novel with every page in a different place. What makes the Kcymaerxthaere project particularly interesting is that Demetrios installs informative markers and historical sites at the locations in our world that connect to his world, creating real world intersections with his imagined universe. For the months of August and September, 2014, Demetrios acted as our first ever Geographer-in-Residence and his Kcymaerxthaere locations continue to be featured all over the Atlas. To learn more see our introductory article here

In the annals of Kcymaerxthaere, it is rare to find a story of a franchise gwome that has a happy ending and the story of Erailen Gwome honored here has one of the happiest. 

Franchise gwomes were actually a fairly sad set of gwomes–they existed in virtually every rezhn–who licensed their form of government from Kuolyrmatys, a very powerful gwome (remember: gwome is a cognate term that means “footprint of the nation”). Seeing the economic success of Kuolyrmatis, they assumed if they went down that path, success would be sure and easy.

However, as a franchise gwome, some important things change quite quickly. A franchise gwome was still a democracy, but citizens over the age of 18 were divided into two classes: stakehaulders and placehauldersStakehaulders were anyone over the age of 125–or who was immortal.  The logic was impeccable: why should mortal losers who weren’t going to be around forever have the same rights as those persons who were in it for the long haul.  These were the persons who could vote.  As practical matter, this meant the electorate consisted of 125 year old humans, turtles and tortoises of that age, that really big fish in the bottom of the lake that no one could catch, and, of course, the kuolyrmajts.  When you visit the marker, you’ll learn the rest of the story.

Know Before You Go

Intersection of Fountain and Division (NW corner in front of Kendall College of Art and Design.

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