Lukasz Zywna at TodaysArt

Lukasz Zywna is a music lover and occasional talent-scout and event-organiser for PIP Den Haag. He is also confined to a wheelchair and a limited range of movements, but that doesn’t stop somebody like Lukasz.

DATE: 24th of September 2016
TIME: 21:00 – 21:20
LOCATION: Spuiplein, The Hague
INFO: TodaysArt

For the past few years STEIM has been involved in a collaboration with the care organization Van Boeijen, developing music instruments for a variety of clients with multiple disabilities. When Kassen visited STEIM he met up with Marije Baalman who was working on the project. Kassen adapted the code and sound of one of the instruments to suit a club environment and now nothing can stop Lukasz from rocking clubs any more.
Here is what Kassen had to say about the project:
Hey, there are already more than enough artists who like to talk about themselves in third person in this kind of publication. I’d just like to talk about what happened to me for a bit, why it felt special, and I’ll end up talking about Lukasz Zywna in third person
anyway, so that should be cool.
Early this year I stopped by STEIM, a foundation who creates experimental musical instruments, in Amsterdam, to check out what Marije Baalman was up to. I found Marije busy on a new project: a motion sensitive instrument aimed at musicians with limited muscle-control. Particularly people who used to be a musician, were struck by some ailment or accident, and now found their inability to play an instrument frustrating. Of course I had to play around with that, and being a bit of a techno fan suggest they make a set of sounds to play house music on that.
A few months later PIP started organising an event with (PIP-regular) Lukasz, where Lukasz was in charge of picking the acts he’d most like to see (mostly the harder side of techno). That Lukasz gets around in a wheelchair and has limited freedom of movement doesn’t keep him from going to nighclubs so it shouldn’t keep him from being booker and talent-scout either. This led to the question of whether Lukasz should perhaps start the first record at his own party, and at that point STEIM’s instrument sprang to mind.
With not a lot of time to spare STEIM lend one of their only two prototypes to this project. PIP said ‘yes’ to this rather wild idea that had never been tested and without hearing a note.
With a lot of help from Marije and some samples from an old liveset I adapted the instrument’s code, and Lukasz, intuitively picking up on how it all worked, practised playing the new instrument for a full afternoon. With days to spare for the event, when I heard Lukasz get new kinds of melodies and beats of the instrument, ones that I hadn’t heard while testing, it become clear we were on to something here.
But more special things happened. At dance music events the audience often doesn’t care that much about where or who the DJ is, or what he is doing exactly; the ongoing beat and their own dancing is the focus. Let’s be honest; the average nightclubber does not care a lot about first public tests of experimental instruments (nor do I think it makes sense to expect them to). Here everybody on the dancefloor gathered around Lukasz, to watch him play, to dance and to cheer him on.
Later that night, independently from one-another, quite a few people reflected on what they were doing with their lives, compared to what they were capable of. This is a bit hard to explain… One of those “you had to be there” things. Here’s your chance.
–Kas. September 2016

Lukasz Zywna is a musician, DJ and event organiser from The Hague.
Marije Baalman is a media artist, composer and instrument builder
Kassen released electro-acoustical sounds on Bunker Records and techno
on MIT-Press.

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