GET FAMILIAR: STEVEN VAN LUMMEL (PIP DEN HAAG)
At the beginning of the year Patta and PIP Den Haag teamed up for the Patta & PIP Perspective Push, where they gave Dutch creatives support in realising their ideas. We wanted to give our readers a better insight of the creators behind this project, so we had a chat with the founder and artistic leader of PIP Den Haag, Steven Van Lummel.
Hey Steven, please introduce PIP to our readers.
Me and my partner David Schoch started PIP in 2007 to combine forces with like minded creatives, but we had no idea how to do it or what we really wanted. We just wanted a place to hang out, skate, build and chill. And that's what we did. We started with illegal parties and many different projects. PIP grew bigger like a giant in kindergarten. Before the glorious and multifaceted pandemic we hosted about 120 events per year, collaborated with independent cultural spaces worldwide. From Wilde Renate in Berlin to ANAGRA in Tokyo to House of Yes in New York. We are a small but strong family that invests and believes in a future that still holds small open spaces for the misfits, the unfortunate. To make mistakes, adjust and get familiar with new sounds, creative output and of course people. PIP is analog and physical.
What is your role within the company?
Founder and artistic leader. But in the end I’m a cleaner, I like to clean disturbed toilets.
What triggered you to work and organize events for and with the youth?
I organized my first Hip Hop party in 1995, just because I couldn't find the music that I wanted to hear, east coast Hip Hop. During my study at the Royal Academy of Art I got really invested in the part my art could play in the development of the city i was born in.
Then the skatepark closed so I started to organise skate competitions to gather and mobilize friends and strangers to enforce youth power on city hall in order to realize a community funded skatepark, Skatepark Sweatshop.
How has Covid affected PIP?
It has affected PIP a great deal. We exist because of our physical presence in the city. With 50 thousand visitors, many internships, many mistakes by choice we came to a grinding halt like the rest of the world last march. Since then we have been reinventing ourselves, starting a TV channel; www.piptv.nl, a book publishing house; People In Print, we built a recording studio and just last week we created a 150 meter underground lightshow for the opening of a large new tunnel that connects The Hague and Rotterdam. This week we are producing TV shows to hopefully bring some excitement during the curfew. So we are the same, but we adapt to the situation. Still standing, still trying to make sense of this ball of joy that we call earth.
You give people the opportunity to shape and implement their ideas. How does PIP challenge this and how do you contribute to this process?
Over the years many people from all backgrounds and ages came to us. Some because of school, some because of a search for work or meaning and trying to connect to the world.
PIP is chaos, This is a challenge because of the sudden opportunities and many projects that we realize. We always try to challenge our friend co-workers and ourselves, only by challenging the status quo can we move forward entering new beginnings and old endings. I think I’m mostly a disturbing factor in this process, but you have to ask other people what defines my role,I’m not very good at looking at myself in an objective way.
Next to events, PIP organizes workshops, exhibitions, festivals, and the list goes on. Can you tell us more about these projects? For example ‘PIP Expo’.
PIP has a thousand faces, we produce, endorse, support and try to understand as many different projects as possible. Sometimes this multifaceted way of working brings us and our community a certain newness. But also many times it creates incomprehensible spider webs of well willing but unpractical results.
I want to tell you about Snowjob, an event for which we built a giant snowboard ramp in our backyard, two trucks with snow, an iron rail and a lot of dangerous moments follow. Live bands, a hot tub, a convoi of happy cats from Skatecafe Amsterdam and you get a marvelous recipe for disaster that always has a good ending.
Where do you look for new talent?
It’s all around us, The KABK and the royal conservatory are very strong institutes with a high quality output. And a lot of new talent comes looking for us too. Young people with ideas knock on our door and our mailbox all the time. Everywhere I go, everyone I meet but mostly on the toilet when I’m alone in the dark I’m always on the lookout for talent.
Patta and PIP teamed up for the Patta & PIP The Perspective Push. Please tell us how and why?
Both Patta and PIP are firmly rooted in the local cultural infrastructure with a clear vision toward the rest of the world. With both companies viewing the community and a strong DIY approach as the start of their journey we like to help young people on the way to theirs. Me and Gee have been friend for a long time. Last summer he spent some time with his family in my family house in the south of France. During long talks we decided it was time to collaborate on a project to give youngsters a small but very necessary push to keep creating.
What can the participants win?
Money prizes up to €2000 for your project! And guidance and support for making it happen. And of course a trip to one of Patta’s flagship stores in Milan or London.
Can you name some examples of possible projects?
Anything creative or community oriented really. Organizing a blockjam, creating an exposition in your neighborhood, making t-shirts for your dance crew or football team, recording music, making a book of your own poetry or photography, making your own online cooking show, organizing a rap or dance battle, live streaming from lockdown, making a podcast, a skateboard contest, a bingo show for old people in a nursing home, whatever. Send us any crazy idea. Be creative!