Technoviking is the nickname given to a musclebound man dancing in a video shot during the annual techno music festival Fuckparade in July 2000. The footage shows an unruly man shoving a woman before being grabbed by a shirtless man wearing a beard and a Thor’s hammer pendant who pushes him away. Since being uploaded to YouTube in 2006, the video has gained tens of millions of views, as well as spawning hundreds of parodies and remixes.
The original clip “Kneecam No. 1” was produced by German visual artist Matthias Fritsch at the annual street techno festival “Fuck Parade” in Berlin, Germany on July 8th, 2000. According to Matthias, the original intention behind publishing the Kneecam video was to raise the question of its authenticity. The video was first uploaded to YouTube by user subrelic on October 10th, 2006. According to the YouTube Insights, the video went largely unnoticed until some time in 2007 when it was posted on a Central American pornography site. It has more than 16 million views as of January 2013.
Throughout September 2007, the video quickly spread across other video-sharing sites and internet humor blogs including Break, eBaumsworld] and Digg] among others. The first YTMND site featuring the Technoviking was created by user blueeyedblackout on Septebmer 21st, followed by another YTMND site set to Soulja Boy’s breakout hit “Crank Dat” by user AgitatedHerdOfSpoons on the same day. The next day, the first Urban Dictionary definition of Technoviking was submitted by user Eloij, noting the catchphrase “All hail TECHNOVIKING” which emerged through comments on the YouTube video page. On September 30th, a thread linking to the video clip with the catchphrase surfaced on 4chan’s /b/, generating 179 responses prior to being archived. The celebration of Techno Viking on 4chan has been also documented by Encyclopedia Dramatica]
On October 18th, Cracked posted an article about the Internet sensation surrounding the mysterious fun-loving Techno Viking. On February 28th, 2009, a Facebook fan page titled Techno Viking was launched, gaining more than 13,300 likes as of August 2012. Also in early 2009, Mathias and a team of artists curated an installation exhibit titled “Technoviking Archive” in Karlsruhe, Germany, which presented the best of Technoviking remixes, parodies and re-enactments in real life.
Months later on July 19th, Technoviking Archive launched a video gallery site with an official compilation of parodies and response videos created by the fans.
On September 21st, 2011, Zynga introduced a character named Technoviking in its social network game Mafia Wars. On February 26th, 2012, an image of a toy action figure bearing his resemblance was submitted to Reddit’s /r/funny, accumulating 6,587 up votes and more than 200 comments.
On May 5th, 2010, the blog Dead End Follies posted an article claiming that Technoviking was the Munich bodybuilder Hans Schlepkopper. A man appeared on a Raab Gefahr “Bodybuilding” episode named “Harry the old Teuton” on February 20th, 2009. A YouTomb page claims the man is Technoviking. However this information is incorrect and Fritsch has stated that he will not reveal Technoviking’s name out of respect for him.
The Technoviking meme is most notable for its extensive collection of musical remixes with other electronica songs and viral videos, including Nyan Cat, Dubstep music, Little Superstar and This is Sparta among many others. As of August 2012, there are more than 10,000 videos relating to the keyword “Technoviking” or “Techno Viking” on YouTube. More notable examples can be found in the video gallery below.
In 2009, creator Matthias Fritsch was served with a legal notice from an individual identifying himself as the Technoviking, which asked him to cease distributing the viral video. Following the issue of this notice, Fritsch chose to no longer accept ad revenues from the video he uploaded on YouTube. On January 17th, 2013, Fritsch revealed that the trial between he and the unnamed plaintiff had begun in Germany. That same day, Fritsch told the Daily Dot that he is being accused of “infringement of personality rights” on the grounds that Fritsch is responsible for creating the persona of Technoviking to gain revenues from his video and thus, the person it depicts. As of January 17th, the original Technoviking video is still online, but covered by a large annotation stating that the video will stay covered until this legal issue has been solved.
On May 28th, 2013, Fritsch launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to produce a documentary film about the story of Technoviking and the legal controversy surrounding his video.
On June 11th, 2013, Berlin District Court delivered its verdict. According to The Daily Dot, the court ordered Fritsch to pay a fine of €15,000 (roughly $20,000), which includes revenues earned from YouTube advertising and a large sum of the legal bills, and stipulated that he cannot display video or photographs of the Technoviking in public, even if they were to be pixelized to obscure the subject’s face. However, the court ruled against the plaintiff’s claim of €10,000 in compensation for “pain and suffering” and specified that the verdict only affects Fritsch, rather than others on the Internet involved in the participatory culture.
Google Insights shows a strong peak in searches for Technoviking beginning in September of 2007, peaking one month later. The corresponds with first creation of the first YTMND page.