When catchy tunes, captivating moves, and curious settings combine, magic is born. In 2000, a creator recorded a piece of history, bringing the Techno Viking to the world.
It took about six years for the video to make ripples throughout the internet. But by 2006, it had received over 10 million views, and an image from the video became a meme.
So who is Techno Viking? What is all the fuss about?
Who Is Techno Viking?
Although there was a time when the person featured in the Techno Viking video wanted to remain anonymous, his identity is now known. The Techno Viking is Gunther Ackerman.
Ackerman is now known to be a German individual who attended a party-style street parade when another filmed the viral video.
Notes from an interview done many years after the original recording say Ackerman was working as a lumberjack. His fellow workers and himself enjoyed party scenes and techno music, doing what they could to let the music flow in their time away from work.
That year, he attended the 2000 F*ckparade in Berlin, Germany, with some of these individuals. But he is the one that later came away as an internet sensation.
Techno Viking had some fun, made sure people behaved themselves, and cemented his place in internet fame, although unwillingly.
Techno Viking Viral Video
In the video from the 2000 F*ckparade, the scene starts with a shot of a small street crowd in Berlin listening to some techno music. As the notes ripple, one individual approaches a blue-haired woman and tries to grab her.
And in steps the star, a shirtless man with a sculpted body, unique facial hair, and some killer shorts and boots. Your mind immediately starts filling with questions.
Confrontation and Pointing
The eccentric character quickly intervenes between the man and woman, taking the man by the arm and redirecting him back to where he came from. The confrontation is quick yet stern.
Then Techno Viking puts a finger to point at the man, a sign to tell him to stay away. A firm point can be all it takes to fill someone with shame, and Techno Viking nails this action.
That specific moment of Techno Viking pointing got captured as a meme. Many years after, people transferred it worldwide from screen to screen. It shows a shirtless man in Berlin, pointing at another guy off-screen.
Yet the video is just getting started. As the confrontation calms, someone steps in and hands the shirtless Techno Viking an upside-down water bottle. He quickly takes a drink, opens it, and drinks some down.
Then Techno Viking starts moving down the street. As he does so, the music starts to catch his ear, and the flow begins to pulse through his body. It’s hard not to feel the energy, even if you’re alone behind a computer.
Eventually, he unleashes unique, captivating moves that fit the music and scene. The innovative dances are sharp and aggressive, yet stylish and smooth.
Combining these moves with the shirtless sculpted man, a unique necklace featuring a Mjölnir pendant, and a fascinating vibe was just the right trick. Something that marketing executives would die for. And it’s all just by luck. What an incredible capture.
It’s one of those moments you have to see to believe. So maybe it’s best if you watch for yourself.
The dance moves continue for a minute or two before the camera pans to other people at the 2000 F*ckparade hanging out on the street. While it’s not an extremely busy event, it’s also not empty, at least in the area where the cameraman was.
It shows some people sitting around the street, then turns back toward Techno Viking and a group. Not much else happens in the video. It just leaves you with questions about the dance moves and the initial scene.
After seeing the video, there’s one thing for sure. You'll likely quickly hit replay to try to understand what just happened one more time. It’s an oddly attention-grabbing scene without much action, yet it draws you in.
The Story of the Techno Viking
The saga of Techno Viking continues far beyond the original recording in 2000. After not receiving much attention for some years, it began to see a rapid rise in screen time in 2006.
What was it about that year that made Techno Viking popular? Your guess is as good as anyone's. Sometimes there’s no reason for viral videos. They catch on and spread like wildfire.
And this video caught on. It has now received millions upon millions of views, plenty of reposted variants, and a variety of attention for what followed the viral aspect of the video.
It’s great when you can introduce videos like this to someone unsuspecting. It starts slow, then the event with the man and woman happens, followed by the confrontation with Techno Viking entering the scene, and finally, some free-flowing moves.
The man in the video did not want to get this attention, and he shared with journalists that he didn’t even know the camera was there.
While the video has a nearly staged appearance, it is supposedly entirely natural events at the F*ckparade where a camera just happened to be in the right spot at the right time.
Techno Viking Legal Action
In 2009, three years after the world witnessed the event, the person in Techno Viking sued the original creator in a German court. While the public details are limited, he indicated that his image was used without his permission, infringing on his personality rights in German.
The Techno Viking requested that the filmmaker unpublish the videos with his face in them. While it is essentially impossible to get a viral video like that deleted entirely from the internet, it's easier to prohibit someone from sharing it.
Reports indicate that the plaintiff, reported to be Gunther Ackerman, also asked for damages amounting to €13,000.
Reports say the lawsuit was successful, and the creator had to pay the full damages plus about €10,000 in court costs for the lengthy legal battle.
The person behind the lens in the Techno Viking four-minute video is Matthias Fritsch. He attended the 2000 F*ckparade equipment with recording gear and was ready to let the fun times roll while subtly capturing the footage.
He wasn’t a performer, but he likely followed some of the same steps musicians follow to perform at a music festival. He got some solid engagement from the subjects on the other side of the lens.
Reports say he originally posted the Techno Viking footage as part of a longer video. Eventually, the specific four-minute video with the confrontation and finger-pointing became the highlight.
Fritsch was reported to have made quite a bit of money for the video and went on to sell merchandising that was almost as lucrative as the video itself. It got uncovered that he likely didn’t have the proper authorization to publish this content under German law.
Mattias Fritsch launched a crowdfunding campaign to make a documentary about the video and the legal battle that ensued afterward. He reportedly received around €6,000 in crowdfunding, bringing out the documentary film over a decade later in 2015.
From the creator's viewpoint, the legal challenge was a serious blow and prevented further sales and monetary benefits. It also brought in questions about the ability to record people in public.
To find out ways where you can share your creative ideas with the world, check out our post on How To Promote Your Videos.
Generally speaking, German law provides many protections about using someone else in a commercial use they didn’t explicitly agree to. Ackerman says that he never consented to be in the video, resulting in this miscommunication and legal challenge.
Where Is Techno Viking Now?
If you’re looking for more content featuring Techno Viking, you’re likely all out of luck. The single video is all he is known to have starred in, and even that was not a willing participant.
While Techno Viking was working as a lumberjack during the era of the video, enjoying the company of others that enjoyed partying and pushing the limits of enjoying themselves, things have changed.
Now, reports say that he has turned away from the blue-collar lumberjack role and went through studies in biology in Berlin. It is believed he worked as a researcher for the university he attended, although the details about that school and where it is now are scant.
If the reports are true, you probably wouldn’t even recognize him if he were right in front of you. A change in facial hair and a thinner build make him almost unrecognizable in some reported more recent images.
Who Is Techno Viking? Final Thoughts
Gunther Ackerman is the person known as Techno Viking from the viral video first unleashed in 2000, but with significant popularity booming in 2006 and beyond.
The shirtless German nails the entry by confronting harm and then continues to dance down the road with style.
Who Is Techno Viking? Maybe it’s more of a mind frame than anything else.