The Story of Technoviking

51 minutes 7.5/10 based on 2 votes

If we could understand scientifically what it is that causes certain content to go viral, companies could deliberately design viral content that would result in billions of dollars in revenue. The formula for what makes viral content, however, is still a mystery.

In the year 2000, Matthias Fritsch shot a video during an event that was called the Fuckparade in Berlin. The purpose of this gathering was to protest against the Love Parade.

Fritsch captured an incredible scene and wanted viewers to decide whether what they were seeing was real or staged. He wanted to create an uncertainty in the viewers mind. The original 4-minute video, originally titled “KNEECAM #1,” featured a surreal scene of a charismatic muscular German man dancing in front of the cameras during the parade.

Matthias Fritsch uploaded the video on his website and soon realized that people were coming by to watch it over and over again. Several years later, in 2007, after uploading the video to YouTube, he noticed that somebody linked to it from a Latin American porn site’s funny video section with the title “Thor.” From there it made its way to becoming featured on countless other sites and kept showing up with countless remakes/remixes of the original footage. This led Fritsch to put together an extensive archive of all the creative offshoots of the original meme in order to study the behavior of the viewers.

The unknown star of the clip was dubbed the Technoviking and was becoming famous by the Internet without his consent.

Matthias Fritsch spent years researching the Internet for information trying to track down the star of his video, who was now known as the Technoviking.

The times we’re living in are interesting. Never before have images been so important in communication as they are today. It’s social evolution in which memes are used to spread the dominant ideas of the time. It’s called copy, transform, and combine. But what about the rights of the people who never gave their permission for their images to appear in videos? Should they receive some form of compensation?

Some specialists believe that just by being in a public place where everybody is armed with a camera, you are actually consenting to be photographed and filmed. And people will still continue to use images even though the possibility of lawsuit for violation of personality rights exists.

In a strange turn of events, in 2009, the man known as Technoviking threatened legal action if the videos were not removed from the Internet but by then, due to all the countless memes and remix videos, it was out of the filmmaker’s control. It was now up to the courts of law to decide how to deal with this tricky situation.

This documentary tries to explain how and why the meme was created and tries to answer the one big question that arises: how should we deal with the dilemma of intellectual property in this day and age of collective creation that gives birth to phenomena such as the Technoviking Meme?

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