We invite you to read the interview with Wojciech Kucharczyk, a respected artist on the Polish experimental and electronic music scene, curator of the Kiev`s edition of Art Meeting festival
Igor Waniurski: The Kiev`s edition of Art Meetings Festival is coming. You are a curator of this edition. How the preparations are going on?
Wojciech Kucharczyk: In my work as a curator I also put my trust in dependable, unfailing “players”, hence I am not afraid of preparations. Speaking of “dependable” – it doesn`t mean that they have to be “old-timers”, I just need to be sure of what they`re doing, even though they are novices. In that case the artists that I`ve chosen are people whom I`ve seen in action a dozens of times, I know how they show themselves at concerts. I know their approach to organisational matters, I am convinced that every single one of them will give their best. Organizational issues are almost done, we`ve been recently still thinking about the rehearsals’ schedule. A long-distance cooperation is quite complicated, we aren`t usually equipped with suitable infrastructure. Yet, with experience of last year`s festival edition and former ones I see that it won’t be easy, but we can manage it, I mean organisationally. Having so many performances, in two rooms, any delete in time, even for half an hour can shatter the atmosphere but I hope that everything will be well-organised. I know, that we operate on difficult terrain, there may occur some unexpected situations, but we’ve been counting such risks in our work from the beginning.
Can we move back in time and talk about the beginnings of your cooperation with Art Meetings?
It happened completely effortlessly. We were talking with Asia (Piasecka, the creator of festival) and it was she who give me an idea for me to go to Kiev as a speaker and jury in a young musicians` competition from Ukraine. I agreed, I was so eager to see Ukrainian artist and these places. I went for a couple of days and saw that there so much can be done there, a huge space for activity. I had known a few artists from Ukraine before and because of the festival I`ve refreshed contacts with them.
Generally speaking, I came into conclusion that we don`t know much about ourselves. But we should know, we have a lot in common, in the context of history too. Even more because of that we have an interesting platform for action. After this first exploratory visit I got a proposal to be a curator at the festival.
We need to remember that the festival has two parts. The first one, held in Lvov (5th-12th of September 2015) was focused on jazz music and its curator was Piotr Damasiewicz. We are talking now about the second one, which will be held in Kiev and will be focused on electronic music. I am taking care of the Polish program and advising on foreign guests.
Let`s move to Kiev`s program of Art Meetings. What kind of assumptions have you had when you were selecting artists?
Starting my work as a curator for Art Meetings, I thought that I would like to show the top musicians who are active right now in Poland in the field of electronic and experimental music. I would like them to come to Ukraine and have the opportunity to confront local experience, to see how it`s like with their own eyes. I`ve managed to gather quite a big group. I support these artists who are active, have something brand new to present at a time. Surely the most important thing is quality. In a sense, foreign concerts are a kind of reward for hard work, accomplishments, there are not a day-to-day thing even for the best. A good artists should perform as much as possible, including abroad. These are the situations that can help to achieve a normality in action, an exchange of ideas, experiences, to gain new contacts. I hope that the artists invited for Art Meetings will take their chance and benefit from that.
You yourself are also going to perform during Festival, in a joint project with Carsten Stabenow. Can you tell something about it?
It is a project prepared on purpose for the festival. Carsten and I, we know each other for dozen of years, he once was a curator of Garage Festival in Stralsund (Northern-eastern Germany). It`s a nice, tourist town from which Carsten comes from. He had been organising there festival for 10 years, which for me was a model example of festival concentrated around meeting of artists. The most enjoyable part of the day was an enormous breakfast. Some people came only because of this breakfast, to be there, eat together with friends from so-called “industry” this famous breakfast. Later on, we were doing workshops for everyone, we met each other last year during Art Meetings where he has been as a panellist. He suggested to do something together. I was a bit sceptic in the beginning because I wanted to avoid “auto-curating” festivals that I am helping to organise. Carsten shared my fears. We managed to think of a special formula for such an event. It`ll be a form base on a book where the music will be only an additional part. We wanted to show s bit of curator`s work live, we won`t be then artists but “navigators”. We`ll underline the concept of festival as a meeting. Not at random it is called Art Meetings, especially important in this context is the second word. We work intensively on it. I don`t want to say any more, soon everyone will be able to know what we are proposing.
Moving a bit away from the festival and getting closer to you. What are your artistic plans for the nearest future?
I continue with my curator`s work including the scene that I take care of as a part of Tauron New Music Festival in Katowice. There are some first ideas of next year`s line-up and it looks exiting. When it comes to artistic activity – I`ve started working on my new album. I don`t want to hurry, I want to somehow convince myself to make a new step. I would it to be a re-valuation of certain things. After many year of working too fast when I was able to publish a couple of albums every year, this year I`ve shared a single piece, apart from my work for a theatre. There will be some work regarding Mik Musik and taking into account that we`re living and creating in so complicated times it`s better not to plan too much. I stress out – I`m not in a hurry anymore.
Heading to the end of our conversation, could you tell something to encourage people to visit Art Meetings?
I`ve made my best to make the most active, most interesting recent artists from our country come to Kiev. Obviously, it`s not a full representation, but surely it is strong. It`s a diverse proposal, from reflexive, dreaming things such as Piotr Kurk`s music or “africanized techno” from Czarny Latawiec, John Lake`s brutal beats or introvert, hip-hop of Syny`s. Everyone should find something for himself/herself. I invite not only fans of electronic pieces, but also people who have never come across such music or Polish music in general. I am sure that not being afraid to encounter new place we can find there many unknown pleasures. I encourage not to be afraid of discovering new things. However complex the political situation it is, art can only help to survive with chin up. Feel invited!
Author: Igor Waniurski.