Semi Ryu

Associate Professor

MFA, Carnegie Mellon University
BFA, Korean National University of Arts

Virtual Puppetry, 3D Animation, Ritualizing Interactive Media

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Semi Ryu is a media artist who specializes in experimental 3D animations and virtual puppetry, based on Korean shamanism and oral tradition of storytelling. She is an associate professor in the Department of Kinetic Imaging, VCU Arts and a joint appointed associate professor in the Department of Internal Medicine, VCU School of Medicine.

Ryu earned a BFA from Korean National University of Arts, an MFA from Carnegie Mellon University, and is currently pursuing a Doctoral program in Information and Knowledge Society, UOC, Barcelona, in the area of Digital Culture/Anthropology.

Her animations have won numerous awards, including “Best Young Animated Film Award” at International Festival of Animated Film, Stuttgart, Germany, and have been official selections screened at International venues, including: Annecy Animation Festival, France; Transmediale, Berlin; Holland Animation Festival, Utrecht, Netherlands; VideoBrasil, Sao Paulo, Brazil; Anima Mundi, Sao Paulo; ISEA, Nagoya, Japan; KROK, Moscow, Russia; and SIGGRAPH, Los Angeles.

Ryu’s artworks have been presented in exhibitions and performances in more than 20 countries, including: Chelsea Art Museum, New York; Red Gate Gallery, Beijing; Antonin Artaud, London; Galelia Olido, Sao Paulo; Museum of Modern Art, Mexico; De Balie, Amsterdam; and ETH, Zurich.

Her academic papers have been extensively published in international journals and conferences. One of her papers “Ritualizing Interactive Media” was commended for exceptional quality in Leonardo review (MIT press, 2005). She co-authored a book, The Point of Being, with former McLuhan program director Derrick de Kerkhove, Cristina Miranda and others (Cambridge Scholars, UK, 2014). She served as senior advisor for the “Avatars for Virtual Heritage” project, funded by National Endowment for the Humanities (2011). In 2014, her transdiciplinary project “VoicingElder: Improving Quality of Life for Older Adults with Avatar Life-Review” won VCU Presidential Research Quest Fund and has been presented in international venues of art, gerontology, drama therapy, and HCI. She was a Visiting Scholar at Center for the Arts in Society, Carnegie Mellon University during Spring 2016. Her current project is VoicingHan: Avatar Life-Review for Paliatative Care, funded by Massey Cancer Center. Semi is the recipient of VCU arts faculty award of distinguished achievement in research.


Semi’s September 2017 TEDtalk

2019 Richmond Times Dispatch article on Semi’s work