Greater than a decade after its launch, I’m nonetheless fascinated by the infamous Techno Viking video.
There’s one thing indescribably charming about it. I discover myself watching the clip no less than a number of instances a yr. I can attempt to clarify it, however its thriller evades writing. Each little element within the video merely falls completely into place, as if it was staged. Nevertheless it wasn’t.
The place do I begin? Bear with me all through this synopsis — or scroll down to look at the precise video first.
The video opens with a lady in a vibrant, cyan wig awkwardly dancing to a techno observe (“Navigator” by Can-D-Music) in broad daylight. She’s not the one topic in sight — she’s dancing subsequent to a crowd of ravers — however she’s undeniably the main focus of the acton as much as that time. Out of nowhere, a visibly intoxicated man steps into the body and considerably aggressively bumps into her.
It’s unclear if his actions are intentional, however he rapidly begins strolling away after bumping into the girl. That is when the actual protagonist of the video steps in: the person now famously often called the techno viking.
Shirtless, the techno viking grabs the intoxicated man by the wrist, and swiftly catches his different wrist, too. The techno viking, who’s completely jacked and carrying denim shorts, mean-mugs the intoxicated man, tells him off, and lets go of him, pointing in a route past the body. The intoxicated man begins strolling in that route, and leaves the body.
The techno viking retains mean-mugging him, looking at him for an excellent 10 seconds. He then lifts his finger once more and — I assume — retains pointing on the intoxicated man for an additional six seconds no less than.
Then, virtually as if on cue, a random man strolling in from the background pulls a water bottle out of his bag, approaches the techno viking, and hovers the bottle — which for some purpose he holds upside-down — proper in entrance of the techno viking’s face. With out even turning his head, the techno viking grabs the bottle, and solely then acknowledges the person by glancing in his route.
He opens the bottle and proceeds to drink from it. A number of gulps later, he returns the bottle to the man.
There’s no telling if there’s one thing within the water, however the techno viking appears invigorated. He instantly begins dancing in a ahead movement, each transfer of his sticking proper to the rhythm of the tune within the background. The gang that was lethargically dancing now follows him as he marches ahead.
One other random gentleman emerges from the group and fingers the techno viking a leaflet. Once more, with out even turning his head, the techno viking picks up the leaflet, nonetheless frivolously dancing. The gentleman exits the body. The observe within the background modifications (“Save Changes and Exit” by Winstan vs. Noia). The techno viking pauses for a second to take a peek on the leaflet. He then folds it, factors at somebody out of sight and mumbles one thing indistinctly, as he concurrently rips the leaflet aside and drops its to the bottom. He’s dancing all through all of this.
The cameraperson briefly turns their lens to the left to disclose the techno viking was speaking to the man who initially ran into the girl within the cyan wig. They then flip the lens again to the techno viking who’s nonetheless dancing. In some unspecified time in the future, one other man approaches the techno viking, who turns round to interact in dialog, and walks away from the digicam.
The video fades to black and we see an intertitle studying “Fuckparade, 2000.” Fin.
Many have attempted recreating the video in varied parodies, however none of them fairly seize the temper and dynamics of the video with the identical authenticity and immediacy. You’ll be able to immediately inform they’re — at finest — low-cost replicas of the unique.
They’re clearly deliberate and choreographed, but nonetheless appear much less theatrical and choreographic than the actual video. Gone is the weird dynamism and unpredictability. Additionally they underdeliver as parodies, as a result of there’s nothing significantly comedic about them.
Techno Viking: the origin story
The video, which was initially recorded by artist Matthias Fritsch on the Fuckparade in Berlin in 2000, was first launched in 2001. It didn’t, nonetheless, obtain consideration till a consumer re-uploaded it to YouTube in 2005, and it subsequently went viral in 2007 after doing the rounds on varied message boards.
For these unfamiliar, Fuckparade was conceived as a counter-demonstration to Love Parade — an enormous digital music dance competition which originated in 1989 in West Berlin.
As Love Parade grew right into a mainstream phenomenon, attracting tens of millions of attendees, it removed sure extra experimental sounds that have been as soon as integral to the competition. This didn’t sit properly with some hardcore followers, so that they kicked off Fuckparade to have a good time these “forbidden” genres.
The techno viking was, presumably, one in every of these followers.
Based on reports from 2010, the Techno Viking footage has garnered over 20 million views, however the actual quantity is far larger in the present day. Certainly, the primary few outcomes on YouTube have almost 40 million views mixed. Fritsch claims the video has additional attracted over 700 “remix” variations and response movies.
Regardless of all this consideration the video has generated, the id of the techno viking stays a thriller. Many have speculated the techno viking made an look in a German bodybuilding present often called Raab in Gefahr in 2009, however the proof isn’t really convincing. Some have instructed the person within the video is definitely former UFC fighter Keith Jardine.
Nonetheless, a lawyer representing the nameless techno viking claims he has by no means been a public determine, nor has he ever meant to change into one.
All we all know is the techno viking wasn’t an enormous fan of the Techno Viking video. That’s additionally why there’s a lawyer concerned on this story.
Not lengthy after the video went viral, Fritsch was approached with some provides to revenue off of the notoriety of Techno Viking. Along with putting advertisements on the clip, the artist additionally crafted and bought a small amount of Techno Viking merch.
In late 2009, a authorized consultant despatched Fritsch a stop and desist letter on behalf of the techno viking. The letter insisted Fritsch’s use of the video violated the techno viking’s rights, and demanded it’s taken down instantly. It additionally forbid the artist from promoting merch (he had solely bought a complete of about $14,000 value of things on the time).
Issues took a flip for the more serious when the techno viking took Fritsch to court docket in 2013. Later this yr, the court docket dominated in favor of the unnamed techno viking, ordering Fritsch to pay €13,000 (almost $14,400) in damages and a further €10,000 ($11,050) in court docket charges.
The artist was additionally ordered to stop using the techno viking’s picture.
Life after “dying”
Whereas the nameless techno viking efficiently blocked Fritsch from utilizing his picture in his artwork, that didn’t deter the artist from additional pursuing the story.
Fritsch later ran an Indiegogo campaign, looking for to boost funds for a documentary titled The Story of Technoviking, which he finally launched in 2015.
Within the documentary, Fritsch follows the legend of the Techno Viking from its beginning at Fuckparade in 2000, to its explosion as a viral phenomenon round 2007, and its subsequent inauguration into the meme kingdom. The film additionally explores the moral and authorized conundrum of who owns the picture of the Techno Viking: the unnamed protagonist, the artist, or the we, the web.
I’m not one in every of these individuals to remark, “Who’s watching it in 2020?” underneath movies, however there’s one factor I do know for positive: the magnetism of the Techno Viking video is everlasting, and I don’t doubt I’ll discover myself watching it in 2020 — and in 2021, in 2022, and so forth.
As a result of Techno Viking will ceaselessly dwell on within the kingdom of memes.
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