Don Ritter is a Canadian artist and writer who has worked internationally in the field of media art since 1988. His interdisciplinary artworks and theoretical writings assimilate fine art and digital media with ethics and aesthetics. Most of Ritter’s artworks are video-sound installations and large projections controlled by music, voices, or the body gestures of audiences. His recent work includes architectural projections depicting humanity through ancient substance metaphors.

Ritter has presented over 120 exhibitions and performances at venues in 23 countries throughout North America, Europe and Asia, including SITE Santa Fe (USA), Winter Olympics 2010 Cultural Olympiad (Vancouver), Metrònom (Barcelona), Sonambiente Sound Festival (Berlin), Verona Jazz Festival (Italy), Exit Festival (Paris), Ars Electronica Festival (Linz), New Music America (New York City), and the Daegu Culture and Arts Center (South Korea). His most widely exhibited work is Intersection (1993/2019), an immersive-interactive sound installation that has been experienced by 700,000 viewers in eight countries. During his performances of video controlled by live music, Ritter collaborated mostly 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 prints and paintings are held in private collections in North America, Europe and Asia. His 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), the European Union Culture Programme (EU), and City University of Hong Kong.

Ritter completed his graduate degree in visual studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Center For Advanced Visual Studies, MIT Media Lab, and Harvard University’s film department. His professors included German artist Otto Piene (MIT), documentary film-maker Richard Leacock (MIT), computer scientist Marvin Minsky (MIT), and film theorist Vlada Petric (Harvard). Ritter has undergraduate degrees in fine arts and psychology (University of Waterloo) and a diploma in electronics engineering (NAIT). Prior to his academic positions, Ritter worked as a researcher and telecommunications designer for Northern Telecom/Nortel and Bell-Northern Research in Toronto and Ottawa. He held full-time and tenured professorships in art and design between 1989 and 2017 at Concordia University (Montreal), Pratt Institute (New York City), Hanyang University (Seoul, South Korea), and the School of Creative Media at City University of Hong Kong. Ritter maintained his art studio in New York City (1996-2005), Berlin (2006-2013), Hong Kong (2013-2017), and Montreal (1989-1996, 2017-present).

“Don’s early and still ongoing exploration of self-organizing systems, autopoiesis, and AI constitute a potent technological uncanny that transforms software systems into participants and co-creators, in ways that even the most recent forays into machine learning have still not quite attained.”
   George Lewis FBA, Edwin H. Case Professor of American Music, Columbia University

"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

“To enter an installation by artist Don Ritter is to become an active participant in a technological emulation of a tangible and somewhat familiar experience. Ritter’s installation places the audience in the active position of accomplice, making it as much a part of the medium as the technological supports that make the installation work.” Laura Heon, Director, SITE Santa Fe

“Don Ritter’s interactive installations are concerned with human behaviour. Ritter acts like a researcher demonstrating his ideas through experiments. But the viewer cannot step back and watch others behave, s/he is directly involved in the situation being created. The meaning of the work is conveyed through the viewer’s immediate personal experience.”
   Lilet Breddels, Archis, Amsterdam

"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

Don Ritter Press Kit (103 pages, 34 MB)


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.

Solo Exhibitions

2023   New Adventures in Sound Art/NAISA, South River, Canada. O telephone.
2018   Pavillon Président-Kennedy, Partenariat du Quartier des spectacles, Montreal, Canada. Wet, architectural projection
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

2022   Festival Internacional de la Imagen, Manizales- Bogata, Columbia, These Essences.
2021   Future Memories, Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre, Hong Kong, Sustained Signage, prints.
2020   Glowing Globe--Sound of Silence, Rijeka, Croatia, Given.
2019   Wonderspaces, San Diego, USA, Intersection.
2017   Museum of Saint-Brieuc, France, Wet installation.

           Art Rock Festival, Saint-Brieuc, France, Burning Too, architectural projection.
2016   University of Applied Arts Vienna, Austria,Sustained Signage and Unnecessary Signage.

           Ars Electronica Festival, Linz, Austria, Burning Too, architectural projection.
           ISEA2016 International Symposium on Electronic Art, Hong Kong. Burning Too, architectural projection.
           City University of Hong Kong. Sustained Signage.
2015   AlbumArte/YICCA 2015, Rome, Italy. Unnecessary Signage.
           SIGGRAPH Asia, Kobe, Japan. Unnecessary Signage.
           In-Daegu Media Facade 2015, Daegu, South Korea.
                                          For All The Museums That Forgot To Offer An Exhibition To Me, architectural projection.
           Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre, 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 Festival, 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   Sound Symposium, St. John's, Canada. A Structural Theory of Emotions, with Trevor Tureski.
           Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal. Québec, Canada. Oh toi qui vis là-bas!, with Geneviève Letarte.
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 Canadian Electronic Ensemble.
1988   Media Lab/MIT, Cambridge, USA. Nose Against Glass, with George Lewis.

Selected Video Screenings

2019  Balance-Unbalance conference, Rotterdam, Netherlands. Sustained Signage.
2016  University of Applied Arts Vienna, Austria. Sustained Signage.
2014  Montréal Museum of Contemporary Art, Canada. documentation of installations and performances.
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

2020   Glowing Globe--Sound of Silence Symposium, Rijeka, Croatia.
2020   International Image Festival, Manizales, Colombia.
2018   Transcultural Exchange International Conference on Opportunities in the Arts, Quebec City, Canada.
2016   ISEA2016 International Symposium on Electronic Art, Hong Kong. ‘Unnecessary Signage' and 'The
               Meaninglessness of Meaningful Media’. Hong Kong.
           Transcultural Exchange International Conference on Opportunities in the Arts, paper presentation ‘The           
              Meaninglessness of Meaningful Media’. Boston University. Boston, USA.
           Transcultural Exchange International Conference on Opportunities in the Arts, panel moderator for ‘Public Art;                             Public Space’. Boston University. Boston, USA.
2015   Art and Public Space Symposium, City University of Hong Kong--School of Creative Media.
               Hong Kong, SAR China.
           Live-I Workshop: XBox Kinect & The Dramaturgy of Tracking. Reed College, Portland, USA.
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

2022   Concordia University, Department of Music, Montreal, Canada.
2019   McGill University, School of Architecture, Montreal, Canada.
2015   Live-I Workshop. Reed College, Portland, USA.
2012   Universität der Künste/ Udk Berlin, Germany.
2011   DukSung Women’s University, Seoul, South Korea.
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.