Blog | Forever SCHWA!

.fly schwa.


As there is probably no „right“ place to say this – and never will be in all likelihood – I’ll say it here:

I am a huge fan of the SCHWA CORPORATION!

And since no one but me and some other fossils out there know (or remember) what this is, I’ll shed some light on this mystery:

SCHWA is – or rather: was – an extremely minimalistic „Alien“ design combined with unnerving, funnny and sometimes even insightful messages „brought to you by the SCHWA Corporation“. As far as I remember, I first discovered SCHWA t-shirts and stuff in the mid-eighties, but the Schwa (art) entry on wikipedia tells me I’m wrong or that the SCHWA corporation has altered my mind.

In the Nineties there was a huge and very kewl SCHWA website and even a SCHWA game for AOL users, and I personally used a SCHWA screensaver for quite some time.

For me, all of the SCHWA designs were little masterpieces of art that made me stop and rethink whatever I was just doing. Maybe not on a religious or spiritual level, but nevertheless: We all lead our lives in part „on automatic“, doing all those mundane things that just need to be done (or that we think or are made to think that need to be done) – SCHWA made you stumble and stop for just a second with messages like:



Even today, I still have bumper sticker on the glove compartment of my run-down car that says „THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE IS BETWEEN YOUR EYES“. And if you look hard enough, you just might find one or the other copy of the SCHWA World Operations Manual floating around some online shop every now and then (there even was a German translation available then).

In fall 2001, SCHWA artist Bill Barker disappeared. And has not resurfaced since then. His web project seems to have died, but nevertheless I visit the Schwa Website in the (vain) hope to find news from my favorite t-shirt „brand“ of all time.

Anyway. Next time you see any design of an „alien head“, take acloser look: If eyes and the top of thehead form a real, full circle, if there is no mouth and the colors are just plain black and white you just MAY have found a piece of real, original SCHWA art.

And if you should see a SCHWA t-shirt anywhere out there or know what happened to Bill – please leave a comment!!!


Please visit the following SCHWA links:
The SCHWA Desktop Theme Pack
The SCHWA Corporation Tribe at
Whatever happened to Schwa and Bill Barker?
Bill Barker on Schwa in Wired magazine
Bill Barker interview on ZoomInfo
SCHWA Pyramid: Alien’s Land on AOL
SCHWA on the Orthodox Anarchist
SCHWA meets DARPA by s.o. who claims to have spoken to Bill since 2001
Long-gone versions of the SCHWA website
Alone cannot you it resist – SCHWA artwork website


17 Kommentare zu “Blog | Forever SCHWA!

  1. […] | Funniest T-Shirts (1) 14 02 2008 Ever since that golden day I bought my first shirt from the SCHWA corporation, I have been a big fan of “t-shirts with a message”. I mean, really: instead of wearing […]

  2. Manuel Vega sagt:

    Hi Im looking for Schwa , or Bill also. Fascinating origins with the group where he worked along Monte Mcarter Paco, Jon Lebkowski and other greats. They have influenced design and art tremendously as well the sociology of the net. Like Boing Boing , Strange attractor..
    You are my first big break..!!
    Thanx for the info and I will pass anything I find back to you.


  3. Kelli sagt:

    YES, these images have haunted me since my high school days when I was obsessed with trying to find every page on the Schwa and Scanwave websites. I even sent away for a little laminated tag that I still have that says:


    I wish there were some solid leads. It’s one of my greatest internet mysteries!

  4. rabenaas sagt:

    Could you by any chance take a picture of that tag and e-mail me the pic to aas[at] ? Then I could share it here.

    Also: Be sure to hit the „schwa“ tag and category of this blog to stay up to date on the great Schwa mystery hunt.

    And: Be sure to visit in order to support THE SCHWA FOUNDATION.

  5. 7734yeah sagt:

    i too love schwa – i used to do some zines and corresponded with bill for a bit. i have quite a bit of schwa goodies around here somewhere… bookmarks, stickers, booklets, screeds…

    there was one particular piece that i had near my computer that helped me immensely….


    thanks for this post –

    rva, usa

  6. rabenaas sagt:

    Could you by any chance take a photo of the goodies you have or scan them or something? I would LOVE to feature them on my site! Send your fotos scans (in a reasonable size, please!) to aas [at] Thanx!

  7. elleemmiss sagt:

    I found this link:

    and I thought you might find it interesting.

  8. rabenaas sagt:

    Thanks for the link! I already noticed it (or got pointed to it) … and actually THE MAN HIMSELF Bill Barker commented on the Rabenwelten, to the MORON SCHWA article here: – where he says that he’s halfway through his 4th book and that his new site opens September 11th, 2009!

  9. elleemmiss sagt:

    This is so cool. I went to the site. I am looking forward to seeing more of the drawings, and the 4th book sounds good too. I hope they put stuff up for sale there. I would love to wear a Schwa Corporation t-shirt to work on casual Fridays.

  10. scott oyster sagt:

    So we aren’t alone in our quest to find the answer to question of what happened to the person who asked the questions. IN THE FUTURE EVERYTHING WILL WORK. or so the image on my arm lends me to believe everyday.
    I have no link for this (yr) site. I’m absorbing right now. Thankyou Schwa for lending yourself to the lowly flock.

    I am a Fan too. Really stoked to find this site. Will return. Keep the triangle over yr head. They will come.

  11. rabenaas sagt:

    Thanks! Unfortunately, TOTAL MEDIA BLACKOUT is down again, already. The quest continues (or so it seems)….

  12. Dave sagt:

    Hello EVER ONE ,,I been chilling with Bill Barker ,, and he has old vintage Drawing he wants to sell off ! So if you want one send me and e mail… I Will give it to Bill and he will Or I will get back to you ! I think he said he has about 900 vintage drawing .40 K or will sell them one by one Or he will draw you a 2011 new one per request ,,, Dave

  13. B sagt:

    That last comment is jacked up but I did meet him this week, I had no idea who he was and had never heard of him, I honestly thought he was a crazy homeless dude off his rocker until I started looking him up.

  14. adam sagt:

    I’m wearing a „Fly Schwa“ T shirt rightthis minute…and it STILL glows in the dark after owning it 15+ years.

  15. Bill Barker sagt:

    I’ve just started a facebook fan page, search „schwa“… some new drawings there, I’ll soon scan in more… I’ve been doing other things for a few years but I’m doing new work now… including in color (gasp!).

    Bill Barker

  16. steve Aylward sagt:

    I still have my schwa T shirt dated 95 FLY SCHWA glows in the dark alien head with wings on the side class I love it used to go raving in it and to celebrate this thread I found,I’ve been going to a rave in wolves in a few weeks my last I promise I will wear it :)

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