Vox Populi
interactive video and sound installation, 8 x 15m
A large video projection of a crowd yells “speech, speech” and encourages visitors to speak from a lectern equipped with a microphone. A teleprompter on the lectern provides the text of historical, political speeches, though the sources are not specified. When a visitor delivers a speech through the microphone, the text scrolls on the teleprompter, the crowd responds with varying degrees of hostility, support or ridicule, and the visitor’s speech is mixed with the screaming of the crowd through a sound system.
Within Vox Populi, anyone can adopt the role of leader and speak the words of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr, George W. Bush, and other world leaders. The amount of confidence within the visitor ’s voice controls various aspects of the installation, including the specific response of the crowd and the scrolling of the text on the teleprompter. If the leader speaks continuously for four minutes at a high volume and tempo, the crowd remains enthusiastically supportive. David Hume writes, “Nothing is more surprising than the easiness with which the many are governed by the few.”

The installation can provide historical speeches in English, French, or German.
photo SITE Santa Fe

"Don Ritter's interactive installations are concerned with human behaviour. How do people work together? How do they behave behind a microphone? How do they over become their fears? 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

Articles and Reviews of Vox Populi

Indyke, Dottie (2006) “Dana Schutz, Charles Long, Don Ritter.” ARTnews. March. USA.

Indyke, Dottie (2005) "Surrounded By Art; SITE Santa Fe Show Makes Work Personal for Viewers,
" Albuquerque Journal, September 23. USA.

Bouchard, Gilbert A. (2006) , “Do you have what it takes to be a leader -- or a demagogue?Edmonton Journal, March 27. Canada.

Breddels, Lilet (2004) Vox Populi, Archis, #6. Amsterdam, Netherlands. p. 50

Allen, Mark (2004) Mark Allen's Top Ten For October 11th, 2004.”,
New York, USA

photo Art Gallery of Alberta

Exhibitions of Vox Populi

Mediations Biennale Poznan, Poland. 2010
Kunsträume Burg Eisenhardt, Belzig, Germany. 2009
ConcentArt, Berlin, Germany. 2009
Kibla, Maribor, Slovenia. 2009
Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada. 2006
SITE Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA. 2005
NAME Festival, Lille, France. 2005
Jack the Pelican Presents, Brooklyn, NY, USA. 2004

Don Ritter: concept and production
Christina Hajdinjak: second video camera
Jill Song: production assistant

foreground actors: E.J. An, Jules Dudas, Carly Gladstone-Strobel, Bridget Harvey , Shawn Kathryn Kane, Clark Main , Lucas Mendieta, Polly Mortensen, Elijah Or, David Rynn, Eddy Sanchez, Cathy Simmonds, Mayra Solis

background actors: Haleh Abghari, Dardo Toledo Barros, Rick Barry, Gregory Barsamian, Ruth Blankiet, Vasileios Bouzas, Jim Costanzo, Claudia Herbst, John C. Liu, Peter S. Mackey, Dmitriy Rozin, Beth Warshafsky, Mark Sugarman, Andra Ursuta, Mary Ziegler