[TISEA 1992] Artist Statement: Don Ritter – Interactive Video is a Way of Life

Artist Statement

Performance

As a visual artist, my motivation for creating an interactive video system stemmed from an increasing dissatisfaction with the major limitation of visual media. After finding myself associating with more musicians than visual artists, this limitation became increasingly obvious and an envy developed for musicians and their manner for creating art. These new associations led me to the conclusion that musical media, such as live music, are primarily concerned with life, while visual media, such as painting, drawing and sculpture, are concerned with that opposite state of being, death.

This difference becomes obvious by comparing the experience of visual media with the experience of live music. In a museum or gallery, for example, visitors calmly stare at inanimate objects on display, rarely speaking and never clapping or cheering in approval. These viewers are like the bereaved at a wake, paying respect to a friend who will soon be entombed in the nether world of a gallery’s storage room. What could be so different from the experience of the visual art than a live music performance? While music performances come in a variety of styles, from classical to new music to rap, they all provoke audiences to clapping, cheering, dancing and a whole range of physical activities which are strictly verboten in a museum of fine arts.
This goal is being pursued through performances containing large video projected imagery and live improvised music. During these events, image selection and cinematic effects are intricately associat-ed with the music’s formal structure as an attempt to capture the spontaneity of live music with video.
The result of the pursuance has been the development of an interactive video system and the presen-tation of numerous international performances in which audiences witness the birth and existence of an interactive video controlled by live improvised music.

  • Don Ritter, Canada