Thursday, December 22, 2011

"Call and Response: Billy Schulz / Stille Nacht"

"Grace means more than gifts.
In grace something is transcended, once and for all overcome.
Grace happens in spite of something; it happens
in spite of separateness and alienation."

Yrjo Kallinen

Billy and I have always cracked each other up.
That's just good livin'.

Some years ago, I lived right behind my brother, Billy. I had torn down a raggedy log barn and constructed a tidy little passive solar house on the resulting plateau. Billy lived within spitting distance (seriously, I tried) in his own single-wide trailer. Espaliered Pyracantha spilled luxuriously along the facade of tawny metal siding. We thought of it as Hyannisport South.
Come Christmas, Billy and I would trek over the Balsams to Asheville for our annual Holiday shopping spree. No list required: for Bill always knew exactly what he wanted to give. The Mall our destination of choice for the purchasing, whilst
el almuerzo de la comida Mexicana remained our customary repast.
Good times.

Everything about this photograph is priceless,
including both the gazes and the furnishings.

One year, we were pushing the deadline - shopping on Christmas Eve. The mall was extremely crowded with last-minute shoppers hustling here and bustling there. Billy had it in his head that he needed a very specific book for his beloved niece, Carrie. It took some hunting. My every alternative suggestion fell on deaf ears. Finally, we located the book. He was so pleased and excited, crowing, "Carrie are love this!"
And we turned.
And we saw the line. It stretched away beyond cooking, circled around self-help, and yawned beyond mystery and into science fiction. I checked my watch, picked up my heart from the floor and we lumbered into the queue.

William R. Schulz

After an interminable exchange of shuffle and stop, we made it to the checkout register. Tensions were rising. I'm not overly perceptive in certain social situations, but I'm sure I detected some jostling.
Now, Billy likes to write a check in payment for his purchases. It is a ritual. A way of belonging, and of being an adult (maybe you can relate to this). The clerk rang up the book and announced, "That will be fourteen dollars and eighty three cents." Billy looked assured and pulled out his check book. He stretched out his arms, cleared his throat, and
with a flourish, put pen to paper.
He paused and looked at me with questioning eyes. See, Billy doesn't spell so good.
The crowd in line behind us sensed a potential delay and I started feeling like chum tossed off the side of a shark boat.

"Each Day a New Day"© video by tomschulzartist

Billy cut to the chase and asked me to, "Help me with this". Sweating, I asked if I couldn't just write the check. "No", he said. "I do it myself." OK cool Billy, but the dingoes what ate my baby is nipping at my heels, if you catch my drift. So I jumped in, "Four. Teen...." "May minute, Tom", said Billy. "Thas too fast."
I stopped. The buzzing in my head was silenced. The pressure of the consuming crowd diminished. The demands of the schedule. The absolute critical adherence to a prescribed self image that (in the very moment) felt contrived. All of that melted away. Wonderful ghee. I took a breath. I spanned a breadth. I spelled.
F. (got it).
O. (got it).
U. (got it).
R. (got it). And as I spelled oh so deliberately and consciously, an amazing thing happened. The tension relaxed. Billy felt more comfortable. Folks began to whisper and point. A miracle was being recognized.
Smiles were shared.
And the book was paid for in full.
We wended our way home, my brother and I. Content and happy and looking forward to how our gifts might be received.
And so I ask you:
What line are you in, Pilgrim?
How receptive are you to the miracles in check?
Wait with me. Slow down with me.
If only for a spell.

"Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake."
Victor Hugo

Night, night Billy. Sleep tight. I'll see you in the morning light. We'll look beneath the vinyl tree and see what Santa has brought to thee (as miraculously, you near your fifty sixth year). G'night Victor Hugo. We have a hunch you'll be blazing across the cosmos, ringing a quantum bell. Our best to Sylvia Plath. Night night, Carrie. Wear tulle and leotards (more often)! Night night, Willoree. You are a Canadian Plains Princess and (I) a Trapper and Trader. That seems fair. G'night Phoebe: darkness defines the light. Dream on, Isaac - Merry Christmas across each type of zone. See you in the morning, dear Sheila. Chase your rabbits and know that your vision is most useful in the New Land. Thanks Ma, that's the best gift ever. Olive, if you can't paws - bark. Hey, Walker - if not now, when? Sweet dreams, Blaine - after twenty some hours of listening, I get it. Thanks for showing your best face, Emmanual Levinas. And by the way Mary, sprightly is a word.
No one's positive work is in vain.
Such is the marvelous nature of the Universe.
With love. In love. Through love and around love. Night night to you all.


Ach, Ja

Dear Grandmother
Whom I did not know,

ach, ja

I think of you at Christmas
When I use your recipes.
When I bake your stollen
I feel the sticky rightness of it.
When I beat egg whites for kisses
I wait for a clear day, knowing.
When I roll your butter cookies
I see the cutting board’s grain beneath them

so thin

Even my father, whose memory
of yours was perfection,

might approve.

All I know of your demise is that each night,
After you cooked and wearied yourself in service,
Your hands rested on your aproned lap,
You sighed

ach, ja

And you would fall asleep in your chair.
Your belly grew like a baby was in there.

aber, nein

It was a tumor. My great uncle opened you up,
You were full of pearls, and he closed you again, crying.

ach, ja

Now I’ve been opened and closed.
My hands are your hands.
Merry Christmas, Grandmother.

stille nacht.

—Mary S. de Wit
© 2011

While comprehending both the conveniences and pitfalls of a Cause and Effect existence, here at Empathinc. we prefer to live in a Call and Response Universe. This series is an exploration of that space.

Happy Hanukwanzmas from all of us at empathinc.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

"Call and Response: Anonymous"

“There are worlds beyond worlds and times beyond times,
all of them true, all of them real, and all of them (as children know) penetrating each other.”

Pamela Lyndon Travers

THE CALL: I have a 'Call and Response" blog series going on. Would you be willing to participate? If you could somehow flesh out that how art inspired/inspires you - writing, examples, giving out for Thanksgiving, parenting - whatever. That would be great.

from Anonymous:

The summer of 2008, I had just quit my job at Lehman Brothers. I sat behind my computer screen with my jaw dropped as I watched Isaac do a live painting on YouTube. I had not seen this kid (now a man) in nearly 20 years but had always wondered where he had gone when we started high school. I watched another video and another one. It made me so happy to see him in his element, painting away, all the way in Japan. It was like seeing a big, gorgeous bird flying over the ocean. Like it didn’t have a care in the world and was just doing what God made him to do. I didn’t know where life had taken him after age 14, but I knew where he came from and was very proud of his accomplishments.

Uploaded by on Jun 6, 2008

There were a lot of reasons why I chose a legal education after dropping out of an arts conservatory. I had wanted to be a dramaturge and went to the North Carolina School of the Arts in high school and then to Purchase College for a year – both are highly respected institutions. My father’s extreme fear of poverty was somehow in my DNA. Then, there was the very real fear of poverty as well. We couldn’t (or wouldn’t) afford art school. I got caught stealing from the school cafeteria one day when I was really hungry and had no money.

At my house, art was something that small kids did. I stopped drawing when I was perhaps 10 years old. My sister’s dance major in college was “a lot of prancing around that would never pay the bills “ She switched to a science major and joined ROTC instead. There was a lot of screaming and crying about this issue, a lot of threats to pull funding from this dream or that dream – very real threats to kick kids out if they did not pursue a “real education” such as “business or engineering” that would put food on the table. Getting kicked out of the house was the physical consequence for following creative goals. But the shaming that a creative type would endure at our house is something I am still coming to terms with.

Uploaded by on Jul 5, 2008

Justifying my father’s position, he had been raised in a two-room house by an alcoholic abusive father with a third grade education. His dad was a hog auctioneer. He went to work in stockyards with his father when he was five. He went hungry a lot. Education and the ability to make money were important to him in ways that I will never understand. I’m grateful to my father for providing a life when I was a child where we did not do without things and were even sheltered from knowing the monetary cost of our standard of living. I think it’s important to be thankful for what’s good about your parents as you acknowledge the things about them that anger you. I think he really was trying to protect us by helping us to assassinate our little creative selves as we matured into adults.

Uploaded by on Mar 11, 2009

I went to law school because my father didn’t think I could finish anything “worthwhile.” I made a high salary for a few years. I know a hell of a lot about taxation of high net worth individuals and got to meet some of America’s most successful and talented entrepreneurs. But sitting on the edge of a trading floor, I used to imagine my boss as a gazelle being chased by tigers. (By the way, he totally deserved it.) To get through the day, I had elaborate fantasies about many of my co-workers as jungle animals. I was miserable and figured that no one else on the floor had strange daydreams like this to make it through the day. My creative self was pretty much DOA and this was its last ditch cry for help!

Uploaded by on Feb 2, 2008

So I quit. And when I got a little time on my hands, I saw Isaac painting, as naturally as breathing, on YouTube. And I had time to connect with all my friends from my previous life in arts school. And many of them were making a living and working as artists. How was it that all of these successful creative people felt they had the right to live their dreams? The right to paint all day, to design clothing, to write plays, and just to walk out of the house and say, “I am an artist.” It all seemed so brave to me. Didn’t their dads tell them to major in accounting, too? They must all be trust fund babies. Well, as it turns out, none of them were trust fund babies. What all of these friends had in common were parents who told them – or even better, showed them – that their creative dreams are God’s gift. I don’t know the dialogues that went on in these households, but I try to write them in my head so that I have a script for parenting my own child to realize his dreams, whatever they may be. Whatever the manifestation of them – you are the designer. You need to listen to that little voice and then go, go, go.

"Albatross, Tasmania"
Uploaded by on Mar 1, 2007

Isaac’s dad, it turns out, is an artist. I am guessing the script at their house involved Dad painting stuff, maybe drawing and sculpting as well. Who knows – I wasn’t there. And I know that no parent-child relationship is perfect, but I envy the love and respect for life paths that I believe exists between the two of them. You can teach your kids to survive, or you can teach them how to live.

Willoree Ford. Third generation of artists working in the Spidey-Hole Studio.
In the background: part of the "Novena for Sendai" series (in process).

Oh, and you can also re-parent yourself as an adult. The bravest thing I did this year was to walk into a beginner’s art class and not run out the back door. And less scary, I allowed myself the luxury of beginning an art collection. I am sure that my parents would disapprove, which is a great indicator that it’s a fantastic idea. So self-indulgent, I just love it.

TOMSCHULZARTIST RESPONDS: Well gosh, Anonymous. You bring so much stuff to the conversation! Cultural stuff. Generational stuff. Happiness, pride, drama, fear, art, threats, shame, gratitude, misery, connections, invention and love.

So, let me share a story with you. You shared with me. It only seems right. That's at the core of what Empathinc. is about - fair exchange.

One day. Years ago ( I was the same age then as Isaac is now). I told Isaac, "Help me build a wood shed, you need to learn those skills." He replied, "Teach me to paint. That's what I need to know." Well, I don't mind telling you that I was in a tough place at the time, Anonymous. I didn't understand then that there is a perfection in the process of growing. I thought I was stuck. So I looked at this kid, and I thought, "What did he know? Was he just being lazy? My ability to design and build was paying the bills, for god's sake!"

But I knew he was right. I did need to teach him to paint. To let myself paint, and to know the complexities of what it meant to paint: to know that painting included concrete formalizing, abstract actualizing and and and - whole space.
Pass the beer nuts.

While comprehending both the conveniences and pitfalls of a Cause and Effect existence, here at empathinc. we prefer to live in a Call and Response Universe. This series is an exploration of that space.

Thank you Anonymous, for Responding to the Call.
"You can teach your kids to survive, or you can teach them how to live."
And you can show them the countless paths to freedom. Their freedom.
Good luck with that. Tom.

Monday, November 28, 2011

"Call and Response: Stevin Wilson"

In another moment down went Alice after it,
never once considering how in the world she was to get out again.
Lewis Carroll,
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

THE CALL: send 2-4 pieces of evidence.
It could be images of your work, work you like,
things you find interesting.


hey tom. not sure of "format" correctness, but wrote a little whimsical chunk about my choices: __________________________________________________ this morning, while still separating my blurred psyche from last night's dreamland, i began sipping my coffee and contemplating this task. while a fairly basic request on the face, when you begin rummaging through your heart and fond memories, complexities may arise. i suppose, in part, that is why these 4 "things" sprung to mind. there's something close to magical about the ability to capture those things that go on in all of our heads, but rarely manifest in waking life, whether its a simple feeling, a connecting set of images or a more enveloping overall experience. whether its a longing fantasy or a recurring, disturbing nightmare. these things seem to somehow always insist on being just out of reach; seen but not touched. and so these are a few people i feel, throughout my life, have always been able to not only grab hold, but to then wrangle, arrange and regurgitate that which most feel ever eluded by. connect at:
high-brow lo-fi musician, chickenscratch wordsmith, and proud empathinc-er.
lemme know that this all makes sense, links correctly, etc. and thanks again for the invitation to interact. i always enjoy contributing, and self is the easiest and most challenging subject, one in the same.

Editor's note: highlighted, underlined phrases take you to other links,
and interesting info!

"David & Goliath"© 2009 MEAR ONE
Mear One

"The Work of Director Michel Gondry - Trailer
Michel Gondry

"The Cocktail Party"
Max Dalton

Tomschulzartist responds: So, yeah maybe it's about bein' cool. Like Pythagoras was cool, cause he like, worked out the angles, and Hildegard of Bingen was cool cause she worked out all the angels. Copernicus was cool. Galileo paid attention. And that's cool. Like as in what are the relationships of the planets? How do you exist in a system? Family. Friends. Networks.
So, you do the ramificating, and me? I'm interpolating.
Conjugating, verbalizing - moving words is tantalizing. Break a mirror and shards you're seein'. But live those shards, and friend you're bein', a broken life that's full of strife, and Davey, "Who's that freein'?" Sling your stone at the confluence of power and dude, then it ain't the hour - for that shit be comin' down. (musical interlude, fade to black)

While comprehending both the conveniences and pitfalls of a Cause and Effect existence, here at empathinc. we prefer to live in a Call and Response Universe. This series is an exploration of that space.

Thank you Stevin, for Responding to the Call.
The "format" correctness patrol will send a citation. Peace, Tom.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

"Call and Response: Artist Carrie Schulz."

Your own ideas are sane and rational,
but this is my unconscious
you’re trying to use, not my rational mind. . . .
You’re handling something outside of reason.
You’re trying to reach progressive, humanitarian goals with
a tool that isn’t suited for the job.

Ursula K. LeQuin, The Lathe of Heaven, 1971

THE CALL: send 2-4 pieces of evidence.
It could be images of your work, work you like,
things you find interesting.


"Happy Tuesday #1"

I wrote this, but where to cash?
(Editor's note: we will gladly endorse this.)

"Happy Tuesday 2"

Happy ____day! Presto. Sometimes I see wonder in the daily.
Other times I just wonder.

"Happy part C"

Rushing is the new zen.
Really, I'd stay and chat but I'm off to learn how to relax.

"No Title"

Pink is the new black. Or, what am I looking for?

"On Space and Being":
A brief interview with Carrie Schulz, by Tomschulzartist:

TSA: Edditington first 'proved' the theory of relativity by viewing a total solar eclipse and taking pictures. It was the actual 'blocking' that provided the insight. Can you comment on the convoluted paths of discovery?

CRS: la la la precedent research la la la baron von haussmann chops up medieval paris la la la cholera outbreaks la la la olfactory revolution la la la people start closing the door to the bathroom la la la
TSA: Brilliant!
CRS: Brilliance is elusive right now. Perhaps just around the corner or hiding under my desk?
TSA: So brilliance is sometimes elusive? And yet, it is always just around the corner. Or better still, is being bent gravitationally so that you must look perhaps peripherally? How do you see this as applicable in the "big picture".
CRS: Pack the truck. Composition. Present a project. Composition. Write a paper / composition. Right. Exit strategy. Evaluate all pieces. Visualize it all fitting. Edit. Load shift load.
TWA: Then, we don't see the writing on the wall cause we expect another language, so that is what we see? Then how do we translate that language and what would our coping strategies be?
CRS: There is this part of me that just wants to draw, but it is cool because the questions are about interstitial spaces and times, so i think I can delve into how we undermine our current urbanity to find new ways of being dense.
TSA: How do you know if the endeavor is worthwhile when you are bucking up against prevailing models? Is it change to polish up the apple and call it a pear?
CRS: Isn't that what we are attempting to do? Allow thoughts and feelings to come forward into fruition without even knowing what that means or how to do it?
Every seed in every apple has the potential to make a new type of apple (I learned that at the farm market) still related to the model, but new, an offshoot, a trajectory, a wave or ripple moving embarking, crossing paths.

TWA: It is my observation that you live into change as much as any one I know. It isn't work ethic so much as desire. And the drive to actualize that desire into a reality. It's sculpture on the most realistic level.
CRS: I need to build a quiet zone around myself so I can get really loud!
TWS:We tend to forget that the space between the points of loci are chock a block full of information and that we are not passing through it all, unscathed. Is that the way we troll for knowledge?
CRS: I feel so completely different and yet so much more some semblance of self I always was. Known and unknown all at once, and I think if I can handle it staying in flux, I can be informed and shifting all at once. If Corbusier is Modernism, and Venturi is Postmodernism (have you read Complexity and Contradiction?) - where is the text for our expanding moment? Hope all is well in the abstractly concrete world.
TWA: Thanks, Carrie.

Carrie Schulz, currently a designer at LTL Architects, has been known to jump off boulders into the icy mountain waters, regardless of their depths.

While comprehending both the conveniences and pitfalls of a Cause and Effect existence, here at empathinc. we prefer to live in a Call and Response Universe. This series is an exploration of that space.

Thank you Carrie, for Responding to the Call.
By the way, did you know that Leonora Carrington was born on April 6, 1917? Coincidence? Or Continuity?
Hope all is well in your concretely abstract world. Tom.

We may have to learn that the infinite whirl of death and birth, out of which we cannot escape, is of our own creation, of our own seeking.
Lafcadio Hearn, "Out of the East", 1895

Friday, November 11, 2011

"Call and Response: Isaac Schulz."

To understand what I really am at this moment, I need sincerity and humility, and an unmasked exposure that I do not know. This would mean to refuse nothing, exclude nothing and enter the experience of discovering what I think, what I sense, what I wish,
all at this very moment.”

Jeanne de Salzmann

THE CALL: send 2-4 pieces of evidence.
It could be images of your work, work you like,
things you find interesting.


Isaac Schulz 5:08am Nov 6
trying to think of four things i like is hard for me

Tom Schulz 6:21am Nov 6
try four things of interest. Try four things that you don't like. Try four random things. Evidence.

Date: November 8, 2011 7:04:51 PM EST
Four things of interest have been sent.

This video interested me yesterday.

"I haven’t spent thousands of hours on the streets creating a name
for it to be used as some bullshit 'charity'."

read interview here.

Three: Shibuya Wildcats
follow blog here

Number Four: Me:

Tomschulzartist responds: My Grandmother lived to be just shy of 105. She would be furious at me for this disclosing indiscretion. I used to marvel at all the technological and cultural landmarks that occurred during her lifetime. But that's chump change compared to the speed of change that artist Isaac Schulz lives within and works into.

Currently based in Tokyo, Schulz chews through information like a vacationer at a seafood buffet - a hunter gatherer on aesthetic steroids. I find it intriguing that he can find more things of interest than things he likes. And one wonders if it is interesting yesterday, is it still interesting today? This is not to say that I believe information is disposable for Isaac. It's a Lego, a microchip, a structural component, a layer of paint.

What I see in these 'four things of interest' is a declarative statement regarding the significance of self. A responsible self that recognizes the essential creativity involved in Being.

It's like hearing. Really hearing, when Rilke says that, "...the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

And then that's exactly what you set about doing.

While comprehending both the conveniences and pitfalls of a Cause and Effect existence, here at empathinc. we prefer to live in a Call and Response Universe. This series is an exploration of that space.

Thank you Isaac, for Responding to the Call.
Yo, Tom.

Friday, November 4, 2011

"Call and Response: Jane Hudson."

“I don’t experience life in a linear fashion, in any kind of continuum.

It’s moment, moment, moment, moment.”
Amy Hempel

THE CALL: send 2-4 pieces of evidence.
It could be images of your work, work you like,
things you find interesting.


Hi Tom...I'm responding to your request for four things of interest for your blog.

Here's the first, which is from Cricket Creek Farm, a local CSA, that is part of a very active locavore movement in these parts. Sustainable farming/eating/economy being at issue.
I'll send other items under separate emails.
Cheers, Jane's one of my pictures of a house in my neighborhood. Clearly this building is from another era, cottage living. Thinking about small in this post-McMansion time. Idea of sepia toning is to evoke the past through an older technological frame while identifying its viability as a present trope.
Cheers, J

This is an image of a re-release of our music from the early '80's which includes all material recorded as Jeff and Jane in that time. Available through Dark Entries Records or on iTunes.

Phenomenal techno-thrill by the brilliant writer of Cryptonomicon, Snow Crash, The Diamond Age. Just blown away by it! Locate REAMDE here.

Tomschulzartist responds: I first met Jane Hudson fourteen years ago. I was a late-comer to grad school and she was gracious in pointing out to me that it didn't matter if I entered through the back door or the front door. Because there were no doors. She courageously challenged my artist's strategy of obfuscation. Well, evidently not all lessons take root.

I've been ruminating all week on the information that Jane sent. Looking for a connection, for a narrative.

I remembered when I was a kid and went fishing with my old man. Dad thought patience was something that belonged in a hospital, and not on a john boat. When his line got tangled (and his line always got tangled) he would pull and curse and smoke. Eventually he handed the muddled mess off to me. I learned to cajole and coax the ten-pound test like I was the freakin' mono-filament whisperer. That skill set serves me well here at empathinc.

Four things of interest. Then I saw it: the gift in the information was that I was allowed to discover my own connections. I wasn't told what to see. What freedom! Instantly all the shiftings from one time to another time, irretraceable cultural mores and digressions, skittering viabilities and evocative sustainabilities relaxed into nothing less than Ariadne's yarn.

Vernon Howard said that, "If you switch on the light in a dark room, it makes no difference how long it was dark, because the light will still shine. Be teachable. That is the whole secret.”

Fourteen years, and she's still telling me secrets.

On Oct 28, 2011, at 1:59 PM, Jane Hudson wrote:

Hope I didn't overwhelm. Did as you asked, and I await your response. Will you let me know when you do, or should I subscribe?

Overwhelm? Are you kidding? That's my brier patch.
I'll let you know, but subscribing is always nice.

While comprehending both the conveniences and pitfalls of a Cause and Effect existence, here at empathinc. we prefer to live in a Call and Response Universe. This series is an exploration of that space.

Thank you Jane, for Responding to the Call.
Cheers, Tom.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

"Call and Response: Melinda Schwakhofer."

“One must not always think so much about what one should do,
but rather what one should be. Our works do not ennoble us;
but we must ennoble our works.”

Meister Eckhart

THE CALL: send 2-4 pieces of evidence.
It could be images of your work, work you like, things you find interesting.


I am an artist who likes to put my personal signature on everything that I do. I may or may not be an artist in the conventional sense of the term, but I have a sense that my identity is, in some respect, my own creation. I am acutely aware that my persona is a construct – something which has been created and can thus be re-created. Some of my current work is about exploring persona via mask making - who do I show to the world and who/what is concealed behind my mask?


I make art from a wide range of media encompassing fibre, photographs and video, food. In the creative moment, I hope to bring something beautiful and good into existence. Not afraid to explore the darker side of life, I may endeavour to bring good out of evil, hope from hopelessness, meaning from absurdity, and to save what appeared to be lost; or at least make a darn good loaf of bread.


On a recent trip to Malvern, England, I came across a fountain, Malvhina by sculptor Rose Garrard. The design of the female figure, sculpted in stone and bronze, has a triple theme incorporating elements representing the three springs that supply the spout, the three roads that meet here and the three most important periods in Malvern`s history, - the ancient Celtic origins, the coming of Christianity and the growth of the town in Victorian times. Malvern spring water flows from a bronze disc where three circles interlink symbolising the sacred triple of the Celts and the Christian Holy Trinity.
Melinda Schwakhofer

Tomschulzartist responds: I first came across Melinda and her work in a circuitous fashion. I was surfing photographs of labyrinths on the web and was taken by a particularly lovely image. Playful shiftings of light and sheen across a delicately mottled pattern. Fascinated, I blew up the image and declared, "Hey, that's one of my labyrinths." I scooted to her blog ('my world' as she phrases it), Inspiraculum. Posted a note, and sure enough, it was the Myers Park Baptist Church labyrinth, completed in 2005. It's a darn good story.

I visit Melinda's world often.

I remain intrigued with Schwakhofer's ability to literally weave a tapestry of made and found objects and observations, and having not seen the evidence of her efforts in actuality have come to view her blog as a specifically coherent work of art. So when she shares with us that she may not
"be an artist in the conventional sense of the term", I had the thought, "Well, who among us is?" Convention is ephemeral. Convention is fashionable, or political. Art (especially when removed from the wall and pedestal) is communication. The drive to wind out a conceptual thread and share the great mystery of discovery.

Perusing the evidence of Melinda's response, I'm reminded of a wonderful defining statement from R. Buckminster Fuller (himself a most unconventional artist). Fuller said, “I live on Earth at present, and I don’t know what I am. I know that I am not a category. I am not a thing — a noun. I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process – an integral function of the universe.” ”
Which (of course) is An Other way of saying,
"I am acutely aware that my persona is a construct – something which has been created and can thus be re-created."

And that's darned good living.

While comprehending both the conveniences and pitfalls of a Cause and Effect existence, here at empathinc. we prefer to live in a Call and Response Universe. This series is an exploration of that space.

Thank you Melinda, for Responding to the Call.
That is a darn good-looking loaf of bread. Tom.

Above: "Alexandra", Oil on primed paper, Tom Schulz, 2001.

Friday, October 21, 2011

"Call and Response: Daniel de Wit."

“Your head’s like mine, like all our heads; big enough to contain every god and devil there ever was. Big enough to hold the weight of oceans and the turning stars. Whole universes fit in there! But what do we choose to keep in this miraculous cabinet? Little broken things, sad trinkets that we play with over and over. The world turns our key and we play the same little tune again and again and we think that tune’s all we are.”

Grant Morrison

Daniel de Wit's Response:

Hey Tom, thanks for the compliment. Anything i've done is cool for you to use, you can make my submission all about sound if you'd like, but I'm trying to get away from being pigeonholed completely into sound. however if you'd like to make everything focused to work in the broader sense, that's great too. All of my stuff with the band is still in the weird prenatal stage, so I can't really send you anything in that respect.

Daniel de Wit is a musician, artist, and designer currently based in Brooklyn, New York. He is a member of the Rock & Roll band Dirt City Magic. He can be contacted by writing


"Energy Collision"


"Intuit Cyborg Tissue Sample"

"Occupy Wall Street October 5th, 2011: Gathering at Foley Square and March to Wall Street"

Tomschulzartist responds: I have recently taken to not
listening to music while I work, ending a decades long practice. It had to do (at first) with a sodden Ipod and the associated elements of both liquidity and funds. But then it became a choice. My head is generally populated by a convocation of conversations, and the music shut the doors to the convention center. In altering that one habit, in flinging the doors open to that inner dialogue, I came to understand
Evelyn Underhill when she wrote, “We will not enjoy peace until we enter into the wild strange place of Silence.”

The wild strange place of Silence.

Through my association with Daniel, I have become much more aurally observant. And that has greatly enriched my existence, from taking in a movie to taking in a walk. But I also watch him experiment. Music, sound, performing, drawing, writing. Taking chances. So much focus in contemporary pursuits has been placed on. Well, on being focused. In the world of Art, diversification may actually be a necessity. I look at de Wit's work and I ask myself, "Am I taking chances? Am I still capable of taking the Young Person's risk?" If I can look at another artist's work and get all jazzed about getting back to my work? Then I'm gonna say, "Yeah."

And that's just sound thinking.

While comprehending both the conveniences and pitfalls of a Cause and Effect existence, here at empathinc. we prefer to live in a Call and Response Universe. This series is an exploration of that space.

Thank you Daniel, for Responding to the Call.
Hey, Tom.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

"Call and Response: Fred Levy"

“The result of the struggle between the thought and the ability to express it, between dream and reality, is seldom more than a compromise or an

approximation. Thus there is little chance that we will succeed in getting through to a large audience, and on the whole
we are quite satisfied if we are understood and appreciated by
a small number of sensitive, receptive people.”
M. C. Escher (1898-1972),
On Being a Graphic Artis

Fred Levy's Response:

"Here are 4 photos from my tumblr blog. This blog is a creative outlet of things that I see on my day to day outings. Many of these photos are taken using my iPhone and taking a new look at the things I am passing by. Too often my head is down as I focus on getting from point A to point B. This is an attempt to look at the points in between.
Always happy to collaborate with you.
See ya,
Fred Levy, Photographer


Iphone ART #106

Iphone ART #102

Iphone ART #096

Iphone ART #106

Tomschulzartist responds: I have worked hard all of my life. Sometimes I have worked hard for other people and sometimes for myself – just because I wanted to. Working hard for your self is not just about being self employed. Although I have been self employed most of my adult life. Maybe that was a deliberate choice. Maybe I just stumbled into that reality. Or maybe I couldn’t get along with (my) perception of authority.
But, that is another discussion altogether.

What I mean by working for myself is all about joy. About choreographing effort. About the process of doing that which I refer to as real work. Real work is not confined to altruistic effort. Real work is not just defined as proper or helpful, though if all goes well, these aspects are a part of real work. Real work is all about crossing the boundaries of the ‘have to’ into the land of the ‘want to’.

I refer to this as transgressing the mundane.

I think that is what Fred Levy does in this series of Iphone images. He is making a conscious effort to recognize that which he might ordinarily hurry by unnoticed. In recording those marvelous moments, Levy sends each of us an invitation: transgress the mundane. Participate fully in the day to day. Expand the moment into its myriad lyrical infinities.

While comprehending both the conveniences and pitfalls of a Cause and Effect existence, here at empathinc. we prefer to live in a Call and Response Universe. This series is an exploration of that space.
Thank you Fred, for Responding to the Call.
See ya, Tom.

Friday, September 23, 2011

"Summeries #11"

“It is not that I’m so smart.
But I stay with the questions much longer.”
Albert Einstein

So another season has shifted into another season, and we bid adieu to the "Summeries". Time is a grazing creature. Tonight, as my compatriot and I were cruising our haunts, we saw a group of perhaps seven gathered in the street. It appeared that they were pointing at us. I cautioned you as to the likelihood that they were Flesh Eating Zombies. Autumn brings them out, don't you know. I read somewhere that it has to do with the Puritan Ethic. Approaching, it was clear that this group was more positively animated than the Undead. "You walked right past them!" one Zombie declared. "One what?," I queried (in my nascent comprehension of the situation's significance). "Deer," replied the Zombie (who somehow lost her looming nature, given the street light and proximity). We turned, you and I. We turned and saw a two point buck and the doe that followed. And us one point five miles from downtown (now uptown) and the bank centers and NASCAR museum. And that sighting made us hopeful somehow. That in the midst of executions and demonstrations and Luddite yearnings, and urban sprawl and oiled interdependence and errant values could there wander a deer. And its companion.
Like us. Walking together. Sniffing and pondering.

“Actualized Dreams” #28.

So once again, ladies and germs: the same brick wall, the same scenario, the same set of circumstances. Maybe different colors. Certainly a new cast of characters (though one might argue that its different masks on the same troop of itinerant actors). But it was you that said, "You have to rearrange - you have to penetrate the system - and move beyond a single reality into the realm of possibilities". Sage advice.…..good times.
Key notation: April 20th. Sheila as teacher

“Actualized Dreams” #29.

You wrote a poem, I made a reference. You said, “The sun applied lipstick to the pursed lips of the horizon.” I had a bourbon. It reminded me of my mother. You wrote some lyrics and hummed the tune softly. I made a cryptic remark, but kept it to myself. We travel well together, the two of us. You and I…..good times.
Key Connective Concept:Stockholmes sin/drone

“Actualized Dreams” #30.

You constantly remind me to choose my battles. You ask me things like, "Is this a ditch you are willing to die in?" That always reminds me of the origin of the phrase, 'three on a match' and snipers and stuff, cause things remind me of other things. Like when you said someone was, "growing in grace" and all I heard was "groin in grace" and you said that my mind was like a bowling ball - always in the gutter. I guess it's all about knowing what to overlook. Yeah…..good times.
Key Location: Spiral notebook

All work by Tom Schulz, unless otherwise noted.

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