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interactive installation, 12x19m


Visitors to the installation encounter a military vest hanging on a stand and a 14m/45ft video projection of slow moving clouds. An assistant invites visitors to wear the vest. When the vested person walks in front of the projection, a panorama of international buildings appears. By continuing to walk in front of the projection, the person can navigate through panoramas of well-known art museums, political buildings, ancient buildings, towers, and temples. Two green spotlights track the location of the vested person, and live video of this person is overlaid with the panorama at certain locations.

If the vested person presses the red button on the vest, the building panorama is overlaid with large explosions accompanied with sound. Multiple explosions are activated if the person hits the button repeatedly, but the button will be disabled and the cloud imagery will reappear after all the explosions have finished. If the vested person walks to either side of the panorama, the cloud imagery returns and the spotlights scan the room, searching for the vested person.

For thousands of years, humans have entertained themselves with the demise of their fellow beings under the guise of sports, religious rituals, or being informed. What is the purpose of a news program that shows the hanging of a political tyrant, or an Olympic bobsledder crashing to his death, or a college coed who sobs uncontrollably as she describes her friends being shot by a crazed student in a trench coat? Economist John Kenneth Galbraith writes, “Few can believe that suffering, especially by others, is in vain. Anything that is disagreeable must surely have beneficial economic effects.” Vested is a social portrait of the Schadenfreude phenomenon as it exists today, reflecting the vested interest that mainstream media has with human tragedy.


Exhibitions of Vested:
Code Live; Winter Olympics Cultural Olympiad, Vancouver, Canada. 2010

Move – New European Media Art, Halle (Saale), Germany. 2009

Kluszczynski,  Ryszard W. (2009) “Don Ritter's Vested: Action and Responsibility.”

Halle, Germany: Werkleitz Gesellschaft.

Selected Reviews of Vested:
Ravasani, Donya. (2010) "Terror als Kunst." Kulturzeit, 3sat TV broadcast, Berlin, Germany.
download transcript: <English> <Deutsch>

Pinchin, Karen. (2010) “Explosive Material.” Winter Olympics Cultural Olympiad, Vancouver, Canada.

Probst, Carsten (2009) “Künstler für Künstler.” Deutschlandfunk, radio broadcast, Oct. 9.

Behnk, Judith (2009) “Move - New European Media Art.” ART: Das Kunstmagazin, Oct. 12.

Bongartz, Ute (2009) "Werkstatt statt Latte: Medienkunst in Halle." Monopol Magazin,  Oct. 25.

Produced with support from the Canada Council,
the European Media Art Network / EMARE at Werkleitz Center for Media Arts,
and the European Union - Culture 2007-2013 programme