Artist Wafaa Bilal questions what it means to ‘go viral’ with a giant installation that pays homage to a 2007 Internet sensation.
Artist Wafaa Bilal recently installed a giant, inflatable representation of the YouTube sensation Technoviking in Manchester, UK for the AND Festival. In the original meme, a shirtless, techno-loving, bearded man grabs an unruly dancer after he shoves a blue-haired girl on the street. The man is nicknamed ‘Technoviking’ after the incident- ‘techno’ for his choice in music, and ‘viking’ because he’s wearing a Thor’s hammer pendant. The original YouTube video went viral in 2007, and currently has over 15 million views.
In Bilal’s Meme Junkyard, an air-filled avatar inflates and deflates according to the buzz the piece generates on Twitter, going flat if nobody tweets with #technoviking and rising when people use the hashtag. The installation is meant to prompt visitors to consider what it means to ‘go viral’ and what becomes of an overnight YouTube sensation months or years later.
Check out the video below to see the inflatable Technoviking and hear Bilal speak about the Twitter-responsive work:
photo credit: Paul Greenwood