Eames Demetrios: legacy, ancestry, and future

I first became acquainted with Eames Demetrios through his work as a filmmaker: back in 2007, he shared with Boing Boing a stop-motion short about elephants that playfully explored a small piece of the legacy of his grandparents, the great American designers Charles and Ray Eames.

Like his grandparents, Eames works in a wide array of media: Charles and Ray made historic contributions to architecture and furniture design, as well as graphic design, fine art, and film. A generation later, Eames has an active role in preserving their legacy, but is also creating a legacy of his own that includes such unlikely media as earthworks and embroidery.

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His "three dimensional storytelling" project Kcymaerxthaere tells the tales of real and imagined realms through many media, including "installing bronze plaques and historic sites that honor events from the parallel world, in our linear world." Most recently, the project delivered some 100 tons of rock to one such site in New Mexico.

"I love the web," Eames tells Boing Boing, "But you can't lose track of the visceral, unmediated experiences. What I'm trying to do is use a full toolkit of media to create experience in your head, which is where all of the stories really happen anyway."

"My heritage is more visible than some peoples', but we all have responsibilities to both our past and our future," he says. "You can't do one, and abandon the other. It's a balancing act."

Some of the Kcymaerxthaere stories Eames wrote have been stitched into life by a collective of embroiderers in Namibia.

"I traveled there and told the stories to the embroiderers of Penduka in Windhoek," Eames tells Boing Boing, "Then we worked together. My emphasis was on being sure they had the story right."

"I call this series the Disputed Likeness series," he says. "It is a limited edition of 151 embroidered panels, each different, but of the same story."

On the ancestral legacy side of things, Eames shares with us some news worth noting: If you're passing through Southern California, an exhibition on the Powers of Ten is up at the Eames Office location in Santa Monica through May.

Also, the Powers of Ten website will relaunch this spring, and on 10-10-11, a new educational project will launch that encourages teachers to show the Powers of Ten film and get kids to create their own explorations of scale in the classroom, through drawings of things real and imagined, large and small, on scales from the atomically tiny to the galactically large.

"The hand-eye experience of abstract ideas makes them feel real, and helps us understand big concepts in personal ways," Eames says.

"Over time, we hope this will encourage a new generation of young people to start thinking more about scale. The big idea is that scale is the new geography; it is a form of literacy that allows us to put our world, and our experiences in the world, into perspective."