Cyprian Wałantowicz is a Cork-based digital artist whose recent work has focused on the techno and rave culture of the city in which he came of age. Fascinated by audio visual art since his youth, Cyprian began his journey in video editing at the age of 12, intertwining video gameplay footage captured via rudimentary software such as HyperCam & Fraps with 90s big beat tracks from the likes of The Prodigy utilising Windows Movie Maker. A passion was born for Cyprian and from here he graduated to more complex video editing software such as Sony’s Vegas Pro, which he used avidly during his teenage years.
Alongside his growing aptitude for video editing, Cyprian gained further digital content production skills during his time managing Golomp Jak Jaszczomp, an online meme page dedicated to pigeons which found great success on Facebook, going viral and leading to merchandising deals & sponsorship.
Upon completion of secondary school, it seemed only right that Cyprian continue in his professional development and as such he enrolled in a Multimedia PLC in Limerick School of Further Education, where he was introduced to the Adobe software suite, including After Effects, Photoshop, Animate & Premiere Pro. This course gave Cyprian invaluable experience and empowered him to further his studies, through a BA in Creative Digital Media in Munster Technological University. The ‘Techno People of Cork’ project is Cyprian’s Final Year Project from this course, a body of work representing a culmination of years of work & study.
The subject matter for this project, Cork’s underground techno scene, is Cyprian’s other passion. Growing up, Cyprian’s preferred listening material came via metal bands such as Napalm Death, Fear Factory & Slayer. It was not until the isolated Covid years that Cyprian began to immerse himself in dance music, a time when clubs were shut and dance music in its natural habitat of the nightclub was unavailable. So, unlike many young people, who’s introduction to dance music comes via a transformative dancefloor experience, Cyprian came to know dance music through a digital medium. He notes Codex Empire’s seminal 2016 Boiler Room Live Set as a particularly important step in his journey into techno. This set, with its combination of dark, industrial sounds and monochrome aesthetic, provided fertile grounds for inspiration for Cyprian, which is still evident in his work today.
As time progressed during lockdown, Cyprian’s hunger to experience the rave first-hand grew to a point of excited anticipation. An eventual relaxation of restrictions allowed this to materialise in late 2021, providing what transpired to be a transcendental experience for Cyprian, an event he says changed him as a person. The warmth he experienced from fellow ravers as well as the energy provided from the fast & hypnotic percussion allowed Cyprian to enter a comfortable trance, allowing him to dance non-stop for hours. This was the start of many an adventure for the young artist, as he subsequently spent his time attending raves, meeting other dancers & music enthusiasts, and immersing himself further in the underground culture.
Choosing a theme for his final year project was therefore simple for Cyprian, who drew great inspiration from the techno culture and aesthetic. ‘Techno People of Cork’ was borne out of a want to highlight the work of people intimately involved in the culture in our city, as well as chronicle the impact of the music on the ravers.
Techno People of Cork
Here, Cyprian discusses the project in his own words.
Techno People of Cork is a website containing a collective of stories told by young, incredibly talented and ambitious artists that shape the underground techno scene of Cork.
Who are the Techno People of Cork?
I chose the following individuals to work with in the project, due to their amazing impact on the current underground scene:
– Melanie “Mejmi” Higgins – Hailing from Galway, Melanie is a techno DJ and producer with a classical music background.
– Maclaine Black – Originating from Galway, Maclaine is a lifestyle and rave photographer currently shooting gigs throughout Ireland and the UK.
– Liam “Hooligan” Chambers – Cork based techno DJ and producer. Founder of “Kriptik” underground rave events taking place in unique locations after hours.
The website contains a video player related to each Techno Person, which is split into separate chapters. This allows the user to follow the interview for better ease. Interviews are supported with subtitles, abstract animations, photographs and techno music to immerse the user’s experience.
The website is designed in a unique and individual style to evoke the feelings that we experience while raving – sense of escapism and visual immersion.
Expect aggressive use of typography, high quality graphic vectors and other visual elements in my project.
Basically, this is the most “techno” multimedia project you probably will ever see.
TPOC is a thought-provoking project which tackles issues such as: drug abuse within the scene, the lack of proper night clubs to cater towards DJs from outside of Ireland and Europe, but also tells us what makes our scene special and different than any other techno scene in the country.
I paid attention to every aspect of the project to give the sense of raving – applying techno music to the interviews, using bass sound effect to replace standard “bleep censor”, using futuristic techno font as subtitles, and many more.
The main idea of the project is to promote local artists with huge passion for the scene and the music. In the times of social media and Tiktok influencers there is a huge wave of people that come to the scene just to follow the crowd and drugs. My project focuses on people who have true value to techno not only as a music but as a concept. I want to keep it 100% authentic.
Even though, “TPOC” as a college project is finished, I want to keep it doing long term, discover new techno personalities that are worth telling a story. This is just a chapter in a long journey.
‘Techno People of Cork’ will be exhibited in the Rory Gallagher Theatre at the James Barry Exhibition Centre in MTU’s Bishopstown Campus. The exhibition opens on June 1st at 6pm and will be open June 2nd, 6th, 7th and 8th from 10am-4pm.