Don Ritter is a Canadian artist and writer who has been active internationally in the field of digital media art since 1986. His large, interactive installations enable audiences to control their experiences through body motion, position, or voice. During his interactive performances, video projections are intricately controlled by live music. Ritter’s work has been presented at festivals, museums, and galleries throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. His recent writings examine the relationships between aesthetics, ethics, and digital media.


Ritter completed his graduate education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Center For Advanced Visual Studies, MIT Media Lab, and Harvard University’s Carpenter Center. He has undergraduate degrees in fine arts and psychology from the University of Waterloo, and a diploma in electronics engineering technology from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. His professors included artist Otto Piene, film maker Richard Leacock, film theorist Vlada Petric, and psychologist Mark Zanna. Ritter worked as a telecommunications and human interface designer at Nortel and Bell-Northern Research for five years prior to his academic positions. He has held full-time professorships in art and design at Concordia University in Montreal, Pratt Institute in New York City, Hanyang University in Seoul, and currently at City University of Hong Kong. He maintained an art studio in Berlin, Germany from 2006 to 2013.

Ritter’s installations, performances, and prints have been presented at SITE Santa Fe (USA), Winter Olympics 2010 Cultural Olympiad (Vancouver), Metrònom (Barcelona), Sonambiente Sound Festival (Berlin), Exit Festival (Paris), Ars Electronica (Linz), and New Music America (New York City). His most widely exhibited work is Intersection, a sound installation that has been presented in nine countries since 1993. Ritter's work between 1988 and 1993 focused on performances of interactive video controlled by live, improvised music using his Orpheus software. He has collaborated primarily with trombonist George Lewis and also with musicians Nick Didkovsky, Amy Denio, Thomas Dimuzio, Ikue Mori, Geneviève  Letarte, Ben Neill, Trevor Tureski, and Tom Walsh. Ritter’s work has received support and recognition from the Canada Council, The Banff Centre (Canada), Pratt Institute (USA), ZKM (Germany), Ars Electronica (Austria), DGArtes (Portugal), the Goethe Institute (Germany), and the European Union Culture Programme.

"The shock of waking up suddenly from amnesia is painful, which explains, perhaps, the psychological dislocation of perception provoked by Ritter’s art. An artistic counter-strategy of psychological dislocation for the body numbed by the invisible blows of technology."
   Arthur Kroker, The Will to Technology and the Culture of Nihilism: Heidegger, Nietzsche & Marx

"His imagery incorporates old love of surrealism on the one hand and fascination with several generations of technology on the other hand, highlighted by flashes of humor and spiced by emanations of angst."
   Otto Piene, artist, Professor Emeritus, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

"Although Ritter uses complex technologies to create aesthetic experiences for audiences, he is not a technocrat; for him the interaction is not the aim but the means to test the influences and impacts of nature, machines and media to human personality."
   Jozef Cseres, curator/writer, Profil Contemporary Art Magazine, Slovakia

"Ritter's play with his viewers' phobias recalls the anxiety-provoking tendencies of Surrealism."
   Dottie Indyke, ARTnews, NYC, USA


1988   MSc Visual Studies - Environmental Art (Center For Advanced Visual Studies and MIT Media Lab),
            Massachusetts Institute of Technology/MIT, Cambridge, USA.
1986   Joint Honours BA - Fine Arts and Psychology, University of Waterloo, Canada.
1979   Electronics Engineering Technology, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology/NAIT, Edmonton, Canada.


2013 -           Professor, School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong.
2011 - 2013  Professor, College of Design, Hanyang University, Seoul, Korea.
1996 - 2005  Professor, School of Art and Design, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, USA.
1989 - 1996  Associate Professor, Faculty of Fine Arts, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada.

Solo Exhibitions

2011   CAN Foundation, Seoul, South Korea. Intersection.
2009   Galerija Kibela, Maribor, Slovenia. Vox Populi, Badlands and Digestion.
2005   SITE Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA. Vox Populi and Intersection.
2004   Jack The Pelican, Brooklyn, New York, USA. Vox Populi.
1999   New York Coliseum, New York City, USA. Fit, TV Guides and Intersection.
1998   Banff Centre for the Arts, Banff, Canada. Skies.
1997   Metrònom, Barcelona, Spain. Intersection and video tape retrospective.

Selected Group Exhibitions

2015   School of Creative Media at City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong. Unnecessary Signage.
2014   Goldsmiths and Courtauld Institute London, “It Looks Like Art,” online exhibition, London, UK.
2013   School of Visual Arts, “Cross Point of E to W--Special Invited Design Exhibition, New York, USA.
2012   MIM & MORE, Berlin, Germany. The Collector Series.
2011   SITE Santa Fe, USA, Benefit Auction. The Collector Series.
           ConcentArt, Berlin, Germany. The Collector Series.
2010   Winter Olympics Cultural Olympiad, Vancouver, Canada. Vested.
           Mediations Biennale Poznan, Poland. Vox Populi.
           IMO Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark. O telephone sound work.
2009   Move – New European Media Art, Halle (Saale), Germany. Vested.
           ConcentArt, Berlin, Germany. Vox Populi.
           Kunsträume Burg Eisenhardt, Belzig, Germany. Vox Populi.
           SITE Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA. annual fundraising auction, Personal Armor.
           Hermes' Ear Festival, Brno House of Art, Brno, Czech Republic. O telephone.
2008   Academy of Fine Arts, Krakow, Poland. Fit.
           Strictly Berlin/GdK Gallery, Berlin, Germany. Personal Armor.
2007   Les Chants Mécaniques, Lille, France. O telephone and Intersection.
           Ballhaus Naunynstraße, Berlin, Germany. O telephone.
2006   Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada. Vox Populi.
2005   Name Festival, Lille, France. Vox Populi.
           Exploratorium, San Francisco, USA. Intersection.
2004   FILE, Electronic Language Festival, São Paulo,
           The Works Festival, Edmonton, Canada. Intersection.
2003   Victoria Independent Film and Video Festival, Victoria, Canada. Digestion.
2001   Riva Gallery, New York City, USA. Digestion.
           Art Future 2000, Taipei, Taiwan. Intersection.
           Exit Art Festival, Cretéil, France. Intersection.
           VIA Art Festival, Maubeuge, France. Intersection.
1999   Siggraph 99/Millennium Motel, Los Angeles, USA. TV Guides.
           Kunst Haus Dresden/Comtec, Dresden, Germany. Intersection.
           Taipei Gallery, New York, USA. Fit.
1996   Ars Electronica, Linz, Austria. Intersection.
           Sonambiente Klangkunst Festival, Akademie der Künste, Berlin, Germany. Intersection
1995   Images du Futur, Montréal, Canada. Intersection.
           SAM Museum, Osaka, Japan. Fit.
           Sound Symposium, St. John's, Canada. Intersection.
1993   European Media Art Festival, Osnabrück, Germany. Intersection.
           Images du Futur 93, Montréal, Canada. Fit.
1988   Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe, Germany. Stithy.  

Selected Performances

2011   CAN Foundation, Seoul, South Korea. Digestion, with Soo-jung Kae.
2009   Brno International New Music Festival, Brno, Czech Republic. Badlands.
2006   Sklenëná Louka, Brno, Czech Republic. Digestion and Badlands.
2005   Intro Festival, MIllenáris Park, Budapest, Hungary. Digestion and Badlands.
2003   Western Front, Vancouver, Canada. Digestion and Badlands.
           Sonic Light Festival, Amsterdam. Netherlands. Badlands, with Ikue Morie.
2001   EI, New York, USA. Digestion and Badlands, with Kathleen Supové.
           NYU Frederick Lowe Theatre, New York and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute/RPI, Troy, NY, USA.
              Technophobe and the Madman, collaborative project.
2000   Thai Elephant Conservation Center, Thailand. Elephant Keyboard.
1994   Musée d'Art Contemporain de Montréal. Québec, Canada.
              Oh toi qui vis là-bas!, with Geneviève Letarte.
           Sound Symposium, St. John's, Canada. A Structural Theory of Emotions, with Trevor Tureski.
1992   Siggraph/NYC at Pace University, New York City. Fortex2.0, with Nick Didkovski and Ben Neill.
           SIGCHI '92, Monterey, California. A Structural Theory of Emotions, with Trevor Tureski.
1991   Western Front, Vancouver, Canada. Fortex and Static Boy, with Amy Denio.
1990   New Music America 1990, Montréal, Canada. Beat and Cloudmouth,
              with Tom Dimuzio and David Rokeby.
           Festival International Musique Actuelle Victoriaville, Victoriaville, Canada.
              Media Play and Cloudmouth, with George Lewis.
           Computer Music Festival, Seattle, Washington, Media Play and Cloudmouth, with George Lewis
           Verona Jazz Festival, Verona, Italy. The Empty Chair, with George Lewis.
           STEIM, Amsterdam, Netherlands. Media Play: Given the television.
           A Space, Toronto, Canada. Given the trombone and the television & And Sum, with George Lewis.
           Art Institute of Chicago, USA. And Sum, with George Lewis.
           The Kitchen, New York City, USA. The Empty Chair, with George Lewis.
1989   New Music America 1989, New York City, USA. And Sum, with George Lewis.
           Alternative Museum, New York City, USA. Ducks Against Glass, with George Lewis.
           The Music Gallery, Toronto, Canada. Underground Orpheus, with George Lewis.
1988   Media Lab/MIT, Cambridge, USA. Nose Against Glass, with George Lewis.

Selected Video Screenings

2009   Experimenta 2009, Bangalore, India. Vested (documentation).
2008   Club Transmediale, Berlin, Germany. Elephant Keyboard.
           Rokolective, Bucharest, Romania, Elephant Keyboard.
2002   Urban Drift, Berlin, Germany. Excity.
2001   Pause-Sign International Experimental Music Festival, Budapest, Hungary. Elephant Keyboard.
2000   ZKM Media Art Award Nominations, national TV broadcast, Südwest. Germany. Intersection.
           Alternativa Music Festival, Prague, Czech Republic. Elephant Keyboard.
1999   Visions Underground, Paris, France. Excity.
1998   LUX Centre, Spacejunks: electronic art scene from Quebec. London, England. Excity.
1997   Galerie Off-Off, Experimental Moving Images From Canada, Copenhagen, Denmark. Excity.
1996   World Wide Video Festival, The Hague, Netherlands. Excity.
           Champs Libre-Electronic Art Festival, Montréal, Canada. Excity and Oh toi qui vis là-bas!,
1995   Electronie d'Arte e Altre Scritture, Rome, Italy. Video Installations and Performances.
1994   Graphics '94, Banff, Canada. A Structural Theory of Emotions.
1992   Interactiva Conference, Köln, Germany. A Structural Theory of Emotions.
1991   ICMC(International Computer Music Conference) at McGill University,Montréal, Canada. Fortex.
           Artransitions Conference at CAVS/MIT, Cambridge, USA. Orpheus: Current Diversions.
           The Powerplant, Toronto, Canada. Certainty Persuaded Me, And Sum and Nervous Oprheus .

Selected Conference and Panel Presentations

2014   Histories, Theories and Practices of Sound Art Curating Conference, Goldsmiths, London, UK.
           Siggraph Asia 2014, Special Session: Digital Arts and Multi-Disciplinary Practice: Shenzhen, China.
           VSMM 2014--International Conference on Virtual Systems and Multimedia--Creative Arts & Design.
                      Hong Kong, SAR China.
           Real Time Visuals Conference, Northumbria University, Newcastle, UK.

           Vs. Interpretation Festival and Conference, Agosto Foundation, Prague, Czech Republic.
2013   Hanyang International Design Conference, Hanyang University, Ansan, Korea. keynote speaker.
           International New Media Art Symposium: Game & Art, Arko Art Center, Seoul, Korea.
2008   Academy of Fine Arts, Inter-active Art Media Conference, Krakow, Poland.
           Mediascape, Novigrad Lapidarium Museum, Novigrad-Cittanova, Croatia.
2007   Interactive Futures, University of Victoria, Canada. keynote speaker.
2003   Victoria Independent Film and Video Festival, Victoria, Canada. keynote speaker.
           Alberta Media Arts Alliance Society, Medicine Hat, Canada, annual conference. featured artist.
2001   Siggraph 2001, Los Angeles, USA.
           Interactive Screen, Banff Centre for the Arts, Banff, Canada.
2000   S.W.A.T. Think Tank Panel, Artists Space, New York, USA.
           Living Architecture, Banff Centre for the Arts, Banff, Canada.
           Video Art 2000, Contemporary Museum/University of Baltimore Maryland County, Baltimore, USA.
1999   Siggraph 99-Alias Wavefront Education Summit, Los Angeles, USA.
           Savoir Faire: Immersive Laboratory Think Tank, Banff Centre for the Arts, Banff, Canada.
           Pong Festival, Brown University, Providence, USA.
1998   Electronic Arts: A Visual Revolution, Haggerty Museum, Milwaukee, USA.
           International Symposium on Electronic Art/ ISEA, Liverpool, England.
1997   Florida Art Education Association, Orlando, USA. keynote speaker.
1993   Conference on Dance and Technology,
              with Myron Krueger and David Rokeby. Vancouver, Canada.
1992   Third International Symposium on Electronic Art-TISEA,
              workshop on interactive video. Sydney, Australia.
1991   United States Institute of Theater Technology. Boston, USA.
1990   Siggraph 90, Interactive Art and Artificial Reality, panel discussion. Dallas, USA.

Selected Guest Speaker

2009   Hansei University, Seoul, Korea.
           Brno House of Arts, Brno, House of Arts, Brno, Czech Republic.
           CIANT, Prague, Czech Republic.
2007   University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.
           Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada. "The Ethics of Aesthetics."
           Emily Carr Institute of Art + Design, Vancouver, Canada.
2006   Academy of Arts, Faculty of Fine Arts, Banská Bystrica, Slovakia.
           Comenius University, Faculty of Philosophy, Bratislava, Slovakia.
2005   SITE Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA. "The Ethics of Aesthetics."
           Intro Festival, Millenáris Park. with Jozef Cseres, Budapest, Hungary.
           University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, USA.
2004   Klangvisionen, Sound Art Symposium, Cologne, Germany. "The Aesthetics of New Media."
           EM Media, Calgary, Canada. "The Aesthetics of New Media."
           Alberta College of Art and Design, Calgary, Canada.
2003   Jihui Digital Salon/Parsons School of Design, New York City, USA.
           Academy of Fine Arts, Prague, Czech Republic.
           Janacek Academy of Music, Brno, Czech Republic.
           Faculty of Fine Arts, Brno, Czech Republic.
           Banff Centre for the Arts, Banff, Canada. "Aesthetics of New Media."
2001   MIT, Center for Advanced Visual Studies, Cambridge, USA.
           School of Visual Art (SVA), New York City, USA.
           Banff Centre for the Arts, Banff, Canada.
2000   Transart Communication Festival, Nové Zámky, Slovakia.
           Galéria Priestor for Contemporary Arts, Bratislava, Slovakia.
1997   Institut Universitari de l'Audiovisual/I'Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain.
           Metrònom, Barcelona, Spain.
1995   University of Toronto, Canada.
1994   Sound Symposium 7, St. John's, Canada.
1992   Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada. 5 Day workshop on interactive installations.
1990   School of the Art Institute of Chicago, USA.
1989   Harvest Works/Studio Pass, New York City, USA.
           Bell-Northern Research, Toronto, Canada.