"The Spoils Taste Better" - Lukasz Polowczyk on Art, Music and Identity

Words by: Cila Warncke
Posted: 25/10/11 11:04

“The Spoils Taste Better” - Lukasz Polowczyk on Art, Music and Identity Lukasz Polowczyk was born in Communist Poland but grew up, in part, in the throbbing heart of global capitalism: New York City. He calls himself a “mutt, an alien” and his life reflects Lukasz’s restless creativity.

It is not a life that has come easy, however. Lukasz’s parents were diplomats and the family was first dispatched to New York when he was seven. Suddenly, instead of a grey existence of grocery queues and empty shelves he was hit with a Technicolor explosion of consumer possibilities.

It was a world based on consumption and TV,” he says. “I had to learn new cultural codes. I never quite fit in.” Perhaps this explains his instant attraction to the international language of pop music.

His first record was the Thriller picture disc, “it’s still the blueprint for what a well-rounded record should be.” Despite never quite mastering the dance moves, eight-year-old Lukasz confidently told his mum he was going to be a musician. “The lady thought it was cute,” he recalls.

Age 11 he moved back to Poland then returned to New York City at 15. Coming of age in the City drew a line between two lives. It was the basis for a clash with his parents who couldn’t understand and wouldn’t support his creative interests. “They were corporate people. It was all uphill and fights,” he recalls. “The gap widened between us over the years, until I could sit down with them as an adult. But I’m grateful because this path is all mine. The spoils taste better.

Drawn to hip hop and metal through local NY DJs and bands like Run DMC, Lukasz became an emcee. It was a way to communicate, a way to express himself as an insider from the outside. “I’ll always be between worlds,” he says. “I don’t belong anywhere 100% -- it can be painful, but it’s a good basis for writing.” Over the years he collaborated with musicians and artists on a variety of projects in New York, then lived in Barcelona for two years before moving to Berlin. There, he found a cohort of collaborators that now includes musicians like Robert Koch, Jahcoozi, and Siriusmo, as well as designers, filmmakers and street artists. “Once you’re in the network anybody making art or music is only a couple of degrees away.

This connectivity provided the backbone for So Undead!, a recent collaborative, multi-media art affair Lukasz curated in Berlin. Using interviews with artists including Mary Anne Hobbs, Robot Koch, Cristian Vogel, T.Raumschmiere, The Foreign Beggars, CREEP, Sneaky , and The Bug to create book panels, designed by Berlin collective 44flavours, and a video installation,

So Undead! Explores the connections between punk, metal and hardcore and “the endless shades of Electronica.” Lukasz says the aim is to “formulate another ideology” for electronic music; one that goes beyond hedonism and hunger for fame.

It sounds terribly serious but there’s a twinkle in Lukasz’s eye. His art is born from the sheer love of music. Ask about his favourite artists and he grins: “I made a list once, it went on for pages.John Coltrane, Marvin Gaye, Metallica, Shelter, Stevie Wonder, Sick of it All, Tricky, and Warp records all get name-checks.  The connecting thread is depth, a message; he is drawn towards artists who strive to say something, none of the “watered down BS” of commercial dance.

As far as Lukasz is concerned, there is no reason for electronic culture to be defined by cheap synths, fashion and drugs. The creative possibilities are endless so why bother going to a club where every room is playing a variation on the same 4/4 beat? Determined to spread the message of collaboration, invention and the occasional mosh pit, Lukasz is raising money to complete the So Undead! Film. He hopes to hit NYC, Paris and London to interview the likes Herbert, Justice, Alec Empire, Peaches, James Murphy, Sunn o))), and legends like Metallica, Danzig and Bad Religion. On paper, they look like a mixed bag, but that’s exactly what drives Lukasz. He knows from experience that you aren’t defined by your passport or where you happen to live. The world is complicated. Music helps it make sense.
If you are interested in supporting So Undead! With funding please email Lukasz: lp@44flavours.de
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