Frequently Asked Questions
About the WingMakers Website and its Origins
Question 1 - Where, or from whom, does the material for the WingMakers' materials originate?
In the summer of 1998 I was contacted by a woman who claimed to be familiar with my work at South Bay Group (a consulting company), and wanted to hire me to post and manage a website with some "unusual" content. I told her I'd review the content and as long as I didn't find it objectionable, I'd try to help her out.
She sent me four CDs, which arrived the next day to my office. Within the CDs were nearly a thousand pages of material (text), images (artwork), music files (digital samples), and of course the website, which was virtually intact as it's represented on the web today. Since then I've received additional CDs with new content (most recently, the material for the book).
The exact source of the material remains a mystery. However, an individual by the name of "James" has, as of February of 2001, stepped forward as the sole creator of all the content contained on this site. More can be learned about James' identity and purpose by reading the questions and answers within the Creator section of the website.
Question 2 - When did the WingMakers website launch?
November 23, 1998.
Question 3 - How did you get selected to help launch the WingMakers' website?
The consulting practice I work with has done several projects dealing with knowledge management with various departments within the Department of Defense. I assume that's where Sarah De Rosnay found out about me. She told me that a mutual friend referred her to me, though I don't know for sure how she found me because no one I know has ever heard of her by name, nor did anyone know of the WingMakers or their material.
Question 4 - How much material is there? And when will this be released to the public?
The best way to answer this question is to provide an excerpt taken from a letter I received from Sarah De Rosnay that accompanied the content for the First Source CD:
"The WingMakers' material is very deep and very broad. It has been carefully planned and executed to be delivered in an envelop of uncertainty, which is to say, there will be many reasons to doubt its validity and the source from which it came. This is part of its design. It will be exactly eleven years (2011) before its full depth and breadth will be known. There are many facets of this information that will be released over the ensuing eleven years, and with each new installment, the information will become increasingly powerful. It is not about conspiracy theories or esoteric spirituality. Its focus is truly on helping individuals to shift into their higher selves and operate more transparently from their heart centers. All of the other elements are simply triggers for helping people make this shift in consciousness and, as James puts it, remodel their belief systems.
"The information-set is vast and varied. There are 161 chapters of the philosophy, and only a handful have been published so far. There are a total of 14 interviews and only four have been published. There is a glossary consisting of over 300 pages, and only a few dozen pages have been published to date. There are 322 poems, and only 46 have been published. There are 48 paintings, 88 musical compositions. There is a storybook consisting of over 1,000 pages. And it goes on because of the combinations of the information that will arise as a new technology is introduced.
Question 5 - Why is the WingMakers website selling products?
The reason that the WingMakers' site is selling products is because the high-resolution content (music CDs and art prints) is difficult and expensive to serve over the web, and there're a lot of people who've requested to get access to these files. WingMakers does provide MP3 music files, but not everyone knows how to make use of MP3 music files, nor wants to wait the time it takes to download large files (some of the compositions are over 70-minutes long). As for the art, it's impractical to ask people to download 200+ megabyte files over the Internet (not everyone has broadband) and the cost of serving those files is also expensive. Not to mention that most people lack high resolution, large format printers, archival inks and papers, etc.
Personally, I don't have a problem if the creator of this material makes money. Isn't that what everyone does? Think about all the authors, artists, musicians -- whether they're in the enlightenment community or not -- aren't they selling their books, music CDs, artwork? Even the non-profit organizations and religious institutions sell their materials. Why should this content be any different? Money is a form of energy. It's an exchange tool. Someone has invested an enormous amount of time and energy into designing, developing, and producing these materials. I think if people want to get the high-resolution files, and the original content as it was intended to be experienced, they should exchange some of their energy (money) to do so. If they don't want to, the website is available to them for free.
Since this new site launched with the First Source product, it's taking a lot of my personal time to answer email, address shipping envelopes and pack CDs, enter data into our database, drop off the packages to the post office, etc. No one is making large sums of money here. I assure you. I have a fulltime job as a partner in a consulting firm, and if it weren't for the assistance of my wife, I'd be unable to do it. This is not designed or scaled to be a big business; it's designed to be a service to the enlightenment community, and hopefully breakeven.
There will be other products offered in the future, and for the simple reason that the multimedia aspects (i.e., the music and art) are very powerful components of this work, and their power is amplified when viewed or listened to in the higher-resolution. For example, if you view the art on the web or try and print out an image from the web, the files are blurry and the colors are not nearly as vivid. It's similar for the music. I've printed out two paintings from a 400+ megabyte file on a 5000 DPI printer, and the results are amazing.
Last but not least, people are asking for these products. I've received literally thousands of emails from people all over this globe who want the high-resolution multimedia files. So, in small part, making these products available is in response to this demand from the marketplace. I don't honestly know if the creator of these materials intended to get this sort of response, but he is.
For what it's worth, no company is involved in these materials. That's the good thing. No publisher is in the middle of these materials directing them this way or that, trying to make them more "marketable" to the general public. And believe me, this is very common for materials of this kind and quality. Publishers, studios, producers, distributors, retailers, etc. insert themselves into the creative process and try to make the materials more commercially successful.
I can assure you that this is not the case here. There is a person in New York who provides me with the materials, I post them on the website and handle the fulfillment to the end-customer. That's the process, sum total. Many companies, large and small, have approached me, seeking to commercialize these materials, and my contact has flatly rejected every proposal. The source of these materials, it seems to me, is not motivated by money. If they were, they would have pursued some of these commercial proposals.
Question 6 - At the South Bay Group website, there's a picture of you with one of the chamber paintings behind you. Where did the painting come from?
One of the discs that I was originally sent contained artwork of incredible detail. There are pictures within the picture that cannot be represented on the web with jpegs. The paintings are multi-layered and dimensional beyond anything I've seen before, and I'm an avid art collector. I printed out two of the files using a 5,000 DPI color printer, and they're incredible (this was done with permission from Sarah De Rosnay). The painting in the South Bay Group photo was one of the two I had printed out, framed, and placed in my office.
Question 7 - How many people have been to the website?
Approximately 4.9 million visits since its launch, but it's impossible to say how many were repeat visits. If I had to guess, I'd estimate about 850,000 unique visitors (from all across the globe) have come to the website since it launched, and this interest has been generated without a single dime spent on marketing or promotion.
Question 8 - Can the text be printed and distributed?
Yes, the text and paintings can be printed for individual use, but not for commercial purposes. The materials are all protected under copyright. Thus, it's okay for individuals to print out the text for their own enjoyment, but you cannot distribute the materials for commercial purposes.
Question 9 - I ran across a philosophy paper attributed to the WingMakers. Are there more of the chamber philosophies in the public domain than are on the website?
Within this site is the full, original content that has been released as of the end of the millennium (December 2000). This material is the only authentic WingMakers' material, and is copyright protected by the Library of Congress. Any information attributed to the WingMakers that does not have the copyright notification should be deemed potentially inauthentic, and if it is not found within the First Source product or this website, it may not be authentic.
Question 10 - There are emails attributed to Mark Hempel that claim he wrote the materials for the purpose of creating a movie or an Immersive Multimedia Art Form (IMAF). Is this true?
There were at least 10 emails that were attributed to me (Mark Hempel) that I'm aware of. Most of these appeared shortly after I launched the site. One claimed that the site was a hoax. Another claimed I was taking credit for creating all of the content. A third made the claim that I had developed the material to launch a movie. A forth advanced the notion that I had developed an experimental art form called an IMAF. The rest were of a similar nature. In any case, I didn't write these emails, nor do I know who did, or for what purpose someone was impersonating me. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, so if you're ever in doubt about whether an email came from me or not, please send me the email in question and I'll try and respond as soon as possible with a "yes/no" answer.
Question 11 - How often does the person who sent you the materials contact you?
I hear from Sarah by phone or mail about once every other week. Typically, she calls to inform me about new materials that she is sending me. Occasionally she'll ask questions about the website, but for the most part, she just checks in to inform me of new content or to answer questions that pertain to legal issues arising from the Limited Liability Corporation I set up for the WingMakers' material.
Question 12 - There is a rumor that there is more content on the website than what can be accessed by standard means. Is this true?
No. All of the content on the website is available via a standard browser, but there is some content that is less obvious than others. You are encouraged to look for links within the graphics. In some cases, there is hidden content that telescopes many layers deep. Also, there is content on the CD First Source that is password protected, and other content that is concealed from the standard navigation. Some of this content will be released at a later time. Some of it is accessible with ingenuity and a little creative effort.