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". The camera is on a group of dancing people with a blue haired woman in front. A man stumbles into the scene grabbing the woman. A bare-chested man (known colloquially as the Techno Viking) wearing a Mjölnir pendant enters the scene while turning to that man. He grabs him by the arms and the camera follows, showing the confrontation. The bare-chested man pushes the guy back in the direction he came. He looks at him sternly and then points his finger at him, ensuring he behaves. Then the camera follows the bare-chested man as the techno parade continues. Another observer comes from the back of the scene offering an inverted bottle of water to him. As the situation calms down, the bare-chested man starts to dance down Rosenthaler Straße ( ) to techno music.
Reception and release
Fritsch uploaded the video to the internet in 2001. Fritsch intended to raise questions of whether the action was real or staged. 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 edited 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.
Unknown man and lawsuit
Fritsch did not know the man's name at the time of filming. There was 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 MMA fighter Keith Jardine was Techno Viking. The lawyer of the Techno Viking asserts that his client had never been a public figure and that he did not want to become one.
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.
- in the full video the offender is seen later, sitting on the back of a truck as the camera is turned to the side for a few seconds
- The two tracks appear to be "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 (in 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) (in 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 (in German)
- "Bodybuilding" (Sendung 8888), Raab im Gefahr 20 February 2009, TV Total, Brainpool, 2011, retrieved 7 February 2011 (in 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.
- Dennis Kogel, Richard Diesing (2017-07-27). "Die Geschichte des größten deutschen Memes: Was der Fame mit dem Techno-Viking machte". Motherboard.
Anwalt Alexander Paschke gegenüber Motherboard: "Er will einfach keine öffentliche Person sein, das war er auch nie"
- "All Heil Technoviking! Der Technoviking verklagt seinen Schöpfer", Zeitjung.de, 18 January 2013 (in German)
- Leonhard Dobusch, "Der Technoviking-Prozess: Urheberrecht und Internet-Memes", Netzpolitik.org, 21 January 2013 (in German)
- Ana Samways, "Pronunciation Sought", Sideswipe, New Zealand Herald, 1 July 2013.
- Olivia Solon, "Filmmaker gagged by the Technoviking, bankrupted by legal bills", Wired, 27 June 2013, retrieved 1 July 2013.
- Kevin Morris, "Technoviking prevails in court, still can't erase Internet fame", Daily Dot, 26 June 2013.
- Henry Steinhau and Till Kreutzer, "Technoviking: Ein Internet-Mem vor dem Berliner Landgericht", iRights.info, 25 June 2013, retrieved 1 July 2013 (in German), with link to verdict (pdf) (in German)
- Attila Nagy, "Here is the Crowdfunded Film about Technoviking, One of the most Popular Memes", Gizmodo, 20 October 2015, retrieved 23 October 2015.
- 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
- The Story of Technoviking on IMDb