Daniel Schulze

Tell us about yourself.
I grew up in a two generation family house in Berlin. My grandfather bought the house for his four daughters and three of them went in with their families. We had separated flats, but in fact the doors were always open. We could go and eat where ever we wanted as a kid. I have two brothers and a strong relationship to my cousins, aunts, uncles, grandmother and grandfather. My grandmother was a tailor when she was younger, so sewing and knitting was quite normal in the family. When we were thirteen years grandmother taught us how to make patterns for our own pants. While studying I realized that clothes for the human body restricts me too much in material and size. So I changed to an industrial design class, in which I found back to my interests in technics and programming. Here I learned that you can create whole experiences rather than just technical boxes that do something. I graduated with my installation ‘for those who see‘. At the moment my work is about designing, constructing and the producing interactive objects for different clients.

How did the series ‘for those who see‘ come about?
For me seeing is the most important sense. I am interested in how we see, how we perceive, and what we can’t see – for “for those who see” I researched invisibility. On the one hand, it sounds quite mystic or magical, but on the other hand, we are dealing with it every day. Light is something that we cannot see, when it’s not directly reflected in our eyes. There are so many other every-day phenomena that we perceive with other senses but just cannot see. The sound of music for example, because you can never see a sound or the smell of a freshly baked cake. Even the air surrounding us is not visible without a helping element. I wanted to take something we can’t see, to show the beauty of the unseen.

What is beauty to you and how do you define beauty?
Beauty isn’t restricted to anything like size, color, material or structure. It’s a metaphorical layer in between. It’s related to your cultural background and personal mood. You may find it in a small detail or in a bigger picture. Beauty doesn’t have to be produced or designed by human and can be found in the center of a huge city, as well as deep in the forest. Just open your eyes; sometimes beauty can be invisible.

In your opinion, what makes the art world in Germany unique compared to that of the rest of the world?
I’m not so much into the art scene. Sometimes artist do things for the mass production and designers create objects for the galleries. There aren’t any strong borders between the fields anymore. I can see that happening all over the world. We are highly connected through the media, so the same ideas come up at the same time in different places in the world. They don’t have to be connected, but come up at the same time. I believe in something like “virus design”. A virus is always a mutant from a former virus. It picks up several ideas of older viruses and combines it to a new one, which can be much stronger than the former ones. We pick up ideas and visual input to combine it to something new. Because we are more and more connected, we combine similar things.
In Germany, who are creative individuals who continue to inspire you?
Olafur Eliasson and Loriot.

What inspired the Light Ray Series?
Light is a Symbol for that what is. What we understand as our world is mostly created by our visual perception – which is only caused by light.  When we turn this idea around, all beauty that we can see is because of the light that it reflects. When the sun is shining or an electrical light is on, it seems like light is everywhere. But in fact, we only see it when it’s reflected into our eye – on its way through the space it’s invisible.
In my work ‘light ray studies” I was interested in how the light ray travels in space. By making it visible through hazing smoke, we reflected it on different mirrors to draw lines in space.

What are some elements or materials that you hope to explore in future series?
At the moment I don’t want to talk about future ideas, but they will deal with perception and beauty.

What are your favorite locations around the Germany?
Definitely the lakes. Since the age of ten, I’ve been kayaking, as I love to be on the water, rather than in the water. Being in a boat, sailing, surfing or just floating around can be the best place to be. I like to be alone in a kayak on a lake. I like listen to the silence and feel the water and wind. There are a huge amount of lakes around Berlin, from the hip and crowded ones to the really calm and nature ones. With a group of 32 people, we just bought a piece of land on a little lake south of Berlin. We are all loving the city but have the need to calm down in nature from time to time. Now it’s an old camping side with just two houses, but in the future we want to build up our own nature paradise as well as organize culture activities, festivals, artist residentials, and other projects. In the last month, most of my energy went into that project. It’s wonderful to be part of a group of different people with the same dream.

If you could grab dinner with anyone, with whom would you dine?
I would like to dine with Angela Merkel to understand how she is managing with the power she has and how she got there. I believe it’s not easy to stand always in the center of attention and be criticized from many sides. I would like to know how she makes decisions and how she is dealing with so many strong men around her.

What is your favorite color?
From what? There is no favorite color without an object or circumstance.

If you could see one concert, which would you love to see in-person?
When it’s possible to make journeys in time, I’d like to see Michael Jackson in the mid-80s in a concert. I was a big fan when I was younger. But when I was old enough to go to a concert, his music changed so much that I wasn’t interested anymore.

What film reigns over all others?
Michel Gondry‘s The Science of Sleep.

What is your travel bucket list?
Hiking through the rich nature of fire land in Argentina, surfing on the shores of Maroko, and hiking through the hills of New Zealand.

What songs are on your personal playlist?
I’m not a DJ at all. I like to play radio or shuffle because often I can’t figure out what music suits my mood the best.
Skinny Love / Bon Iver
Freiburg / Tocotronic
What / Bodi Bill
Sailor / Hundrets
Starbuck / Petula
Shallow Grave / The Tallest Man on earth
Your Ex Lover is Dead / Stars
Postcard from Italy / Beirut
I feel It All / Feist
Die Schönheit der Chance / Tomte
Use Somebody / Kings of Leon
Bergen / Seidenmatt
Study in Brown / Glen Gray
Minimal (DJ Koze Remix) / Matias Aguayo
Kong / The Notwist

What are three things most people don’t know about you?
1.  I hate to wait, so I’m often too late.
2.  I won the Berlin Kajak Sprints Championships in KII on 200m together with Michael Schulz in 1999.
3. I love to eat but I dont like to cook.


For more of Daniel’s work, check out his website.