Technoviking Documentary or What Happens When Memes Sue

July 3, 2013 | Marina Galperina

You’ve seen the Technoviking YouTube video and maybe you’ve tried to erase those hard gyrating pecs out of your mind, that finger pointing ominously up towards the sky, but you can’t. Niether can the real man behind the meme erase himself from the internet, but he really tried.

Artist Matthias Fritsch shot the viral clip and then spent three years in a legal battle with the Technoviking who sued him for “uncleared personality rights.” The Technoviking won.

Technoviking’s wrath brought Fritsch financial woes and headaches, but it also made an intresting story “more complex.” That’s why he’s making a documentary about his long, expensive copyright battle.

“The documentary would be a means to pave the way for artists and internet users around the world to be able to protect themselves against old laws that have yet to catch up to contemporary meme culture,” he says.

Here’s his Indie Gogo page.

The Technoviking partially succeeded in his quest: Fritsch is not allowed to “show” his clip in the original form with the likeness of Technoviking being at all identifiable. But that original clip catalyzed a world-wide-web-wide onslaught of copies, derivative memes, tributes, mash-ups, fan art and parodies. Last year, Technoviking’s giant blow-up head — Iraqi American artist Wafaa Bilal’s installation at the Manchester for the Festival of New Cinema, Digital Culture and Art — would be shrink and swell, pumped with air each time someone tweeted “#TechnoViking.” Try as he might, the Technoviking get erase himself from the internet. Read an interview with Fritsch at We Make Money Not Art.