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Video artist feels the Techno Viking's wrath
Photo: DPA

Video artist feels the Techno Viking's wrath

Published: 29 Jan 2013 14:28 GMT+01:00
Updated: 29 Jan 2013 18:57 GMT+01:00

The Techno Viking is angry – the star subject of one of the internet's most popular memes is suing the video artist who filmed him 13 years ago in Berlin.

It all started on July 8th, 2000, when Matthias Fritsch was sitting on the back of float during an alternative techno music festival known as the Fuck Parade.

As he casually filmed people walking and dancing behind the float, Fritsch saw one man stand out from the rest of the crowd. Stripped down to the waist, his ripped chest, braided beard and stern visage made him look like a Nordic berserker taking his dancing and parade etiquette very seriously.

"He was just a normal visitor, like I was, to the Fuck Parade, which was a political demonstration," Fritsch told The Local on Tuesday. "It was coincidence."

Years later Fritsch posted the video footage of the man online and the rest is internet history: the Techno Viking was born.

Destined to become one of the best know memes on the web, the Techno Viking inspired people to dress like him, dance like him, or simply point in the air like him.

"It was extremely fascinating to see it develop. The diversity was astounding," said Fritsch.

But apparently the Techno Viking decided a few years ago he was not amused and sued Fritsch for invasion of privacy.

Nothing happened for three years, until last week. Shortly before the case would exceed the statue of limitations, the video artist was required to appear before a German court. The Techno Viking is seeking damages of €10,000 plus what the artist earned from the video and court costs.

"I should have asked after filming," Fritsch told Süddeutsche Zeitung's online magazine Jetzt this week. "But I thought I was allowed to film him because it was a political event in public. Besides, the camera wasn't hidden, he walked into the shot and looked into the camera several times."

After the video clip went viral, racking up tens of millions of views around the world, YouTube offered Fritsch advertising revenue. He also sold a few t-shirts, gave lectures on how memes spread on the internet and made arty videos about the phenomenon.

Fritsch said he make an effort to contact the Techno Viking, but was unable to track him down. His only personal contact with him was an angry early morning phonecall a few years ago.

"I offered him his share. If money flows everyone should get something," Fritsch told The Local.

He said he couldn't say if the Techno Viking was actually hoping to turn back the clock 13 years or simply thinking his internet fame could lead to financial gain. But Fritsch said he still couldn't understand why he was being sued for making someone so popular around the world.

"He's considered a kind of demigod," Fritsch said, who refuses to reveal the Techno Viking's real identity. "After all is said and done, people respect him."

Marc Young

marc.young@thelocal.com

twitter.com/marcyoung

Related links:

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

06:54 January 30, 2013 by Wrench
Why is it, if I use the word fu%k in my comments it doesn't get posted? Besides the Techno Viking is hardly news worthy, he is probably dirt poor and needs a few bucks to travel back to his homeland where he is not chastised for his dance skills.
08:04 January 30, 2013 by hsbrodt
Meanwhile, in other news...
09:41 January 30, 2013 by Lykurgus
I thought he danced pretty good.
10:23 January 30, 2013 by Berlin fuer alles
Seems like he spent too much time in the gym and none earning a living. He is broke now and wants money. So much for his FÜCK parade mentality.
13:49 January 30, 2013 by ichbines
that's more or less ape dancing
07:29 January 31, 2013 by Wrench
Maybe he can get the money from GEMA.
23:09 January 31, 2013 by mitanni
Ah, the Germans are so uptight that they strip down half naked in public at an event called the "F* Parade", but then claim their privacy has been invaded when they get filmed.
05:48 February 4, 2013 by RainerL
It's all about money and nothing else. This privacy thing is just a front to be used. In the Nutshell; If there was no financial gain he would not have even bothered.
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