The 4-minute video shot by experimental video artist Matthias Fritsch at the Fuckparade on 8 July 2000 begins with the title "Kneecam No. 1" and shows a bare-chested man wearing a Thor's hammer pendant grabbing the arms of and pointing his finger at another man who has just shoved a woman, drinking from a bottle of water offered to him inverted by another man, then dancing down Rosenthaler Straße ( ) to techno music. Fritsch intended it to raise questions of whether the action was real or staged.
Fritsch uploaded the video to the internet in 2001. In 2006 he uploaded it to YouTube, and it went viral in 2007. According to Fritsch, its popularity began on a Central American pornography site. After being posted on Break.com, it peaked on 28 September at more than 1 million views per day and was watched by over 10 million people over 6 months. More than 700 responses and remixed versions were posted. It was the #1 clip on Rude Tube's series-three episode Drink and Drugs. Mathew Cullen and Weezer wanted to include Techno Viking in their compilation of Internet memes for the "Pork and Beans" music video but were unable to. Techno Viking was also rendered in oils as part of a series on internet memes. By mid-2010, the video had generated over 20 million hits on YouTube alone; as of January 2013[update], the original version had more than 16 million views. Techno Viking has a Know Your Meme page, which documents aspects of the meme including derived images such as Techno Viking with his finger raised and the word "Obey", and an Encyclopedia Dramatica page.
Fritsch mounted an installation and the online Techno Viking Archive "to research the strategies of participatory practice in digital social networks" and presented lectures on the reception of the video. His Music from the Masses project was suggested by the Techno Viking experience: it explores web collaboration by providing silent films for artists to provide soundtracks. In response to legal action by the man featured in the video, access to the Techno Viking video itself has been restricted and annotations on YouTube blocked since late 2009.
The man's name is unknown; Fritsch did not know him. There has been speculation about his identity, for example on Encyclopedia Dramatica. A man who appeared in the 2009 "Bodybuilding" broadcast of the German television show segment Raab in Gefahr was taken to be Techno Viking in a YouTube upload. In 2008, fans claimed Keith Jardine was Techno Viking.
The unnamed man's court case against Fritsch concerning infringement of personality rights opened in Berlin on 17 January 2013. In June, a decision was reached for the plaintiff and Fritsch was ordered to pay the man €13,000 in damages, almost all he had made from YouTube ads and sales of Techno Viking merchandise, plus €10,000 in court costs, and to cease publication of his image.
- Matthias Fritsch, The Technoviking Archive, Staatliche Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe.
- The two tracks are "Navigator" by Can-D-Music and "Save Changes And Exit" by Winstan vs. Noia; Fritsch, The Technoviking Archive.
- Astrid Herbold, "Youtube: 20 Millionen Klicks für den 'Techno-Wikinger'", Tagesspiegel 23 July 2010 (German) This includes an embedded version of the video.
- Kevin Morris, German court to decide the future of Technoviking", The Daily Dot, 17 January 2013.
- KNEECAM No.1 at The Technoviking Archive
- Carmela Thiele, "Das Musik-Video Technoviking", Corso, DLF Cologne, 5 May 2009, interviewing Matthias Fritsch (mp3) (German)
- We,TechnoViking at WorldNews.com.
- Clip 16, position #1; E4 transmission 17 December 2008.
- "Weezer's 'Pork & Beans' Director on the Band's Viral Hit, Plus Exclusive Behind-the-Scenes Video", Rolling Stone June 16, 2008.
- "Techno Viking in Oil – Painting Internet Memes", Crackunit.com 11 March 2008.
- TechnoViking Images at KnowYourMeme.com.
- Judith Staines with Ghislaine Boddington, Interview with Matthias Fritsch, Excited Atoms: an exploration of virtual mobility in the contemporary performing arts, On the Move April 2010, p. 43 (pdf)
- Leonhard Dobusch, "Interview zum erstinstanzlichen Urteil im Technoviking-Prozess [Update]", Netzpolitik.org, 20 June 2013, retrieved 1 July 2013 (German)
- "Bodybuilding" (Sendung 8888), Raab im Gefahr 20 February 2009, TV Total, Brainpool, 2011, retrieved 7 February 2011 (German); the man calls himself "Harry the old Teuton".
- Technoviking on "Raab in Gefahr", uploaded to YouTube 1 October 2007, removed 25 December 2009; documented at YouTomb with screenshots; YouTomb presents him as being Techno Viking and says he calls himself "Harry the old Viking".
- Keith Jardine Talks Thiago Silva Fight, Brock Lesnar, and Techno Viking", MMA Fighting, 25 August 2008, retrieved 1 February 2011.
- "All Heil Technoviking! Der Technoviking verklagt seinen Schöpfer", Zeitjung.de, 18 January 2013 (German)
- Leonhard Dobusch, "Der Technoviking-Prozess: Urheberrecht und Internet-Memes", Netzpolitik.org, 21 January 2013 (German)
- Ana Samways, "Pronunciation Sought", Sideswipe, New Zealand Herald, 1 July 2013.
- Olivia Solon, "Filmmaker gagged by the Technoviking, bankrupted by legal bills", Wired.co.uk, 27 June 2013, retrieved 1 July 2013.
- Henry Steinhau and Till Kreutzer, "Technoviking: Ein Internet-Mem vor dem Berliner Landgericht", iRights.info, 25 June 2013, retrieved 1 July 2013 (German), with link to verdict (pdf) (German)
- The Church of the TECHNOVIKING on Myspace
- Mikkael Kinanen, Matthias Fritsch: "Kneecam No. 1 (aka Technoviking)", Inter-Cool 3.0.
- Shinya Yamaoka making a statuette of Techno Viking (YouTube slideshow)
- Technoviking.tv collection of fan responses and links