Semi Ryu is a media artist who specializes in experimental 3D animations, Avatar and Extended Reality projects (VR/AR/MR), based on Korean healing rituals. She is a full professor with tenure, in the Department of Kinetic Imaging, VCU Arts, and an associate professor in the Department of Internal Medicine, VCU School of Medicine (affiliate appointment). Ryu earned a BFA from Korean National University of Arts, an MFA from Carnegie Mellon University, and a Ph.D with the Highest Honor, from Doctoral program in Humanities and Communication at Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Barcelona. Her thesis “Embodied Avatar Performance, Han Healing Ritual and Life-Review: Intersections of Art, Health and Virtual Reality” won the best thesis award of the year.

Animations and Virtual puppetry:

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.

Publications and Avatar-life review:

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). 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). 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. Since 2018, she has worked on VoicingHan: Avatar Life-Review for Palliative Care, funded by Massey Cancer Center, in collaboration with Dr. Egidio del Fabbro and Dr. Danielle Noreika. Her recent publication venue includes “Virtual Creativity”, “International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media”, “Journal of Palliative Medicine”, and Journal “Arts and Health”.

Awards and Recognitions:

Ryu is the recipient of VCU arts faculty award of distinguished achievement in research 2017, the first place winner of Hamilton International Arts in Health award 2020 (Arts for Innovation), a nominee for the Vilcek-Gold award for humanism in healthcare 2020, National International Recognition Award 2023, and has been featured at TEDxRVA, with her talk “Virtual Reality for Han”.



-5 Questions for Semi Ryu: Interview with Carnegie Mellon university

-Provost lecture "Performing Virtual Bodies", April 2022

-TEDxRVA talk, “Virtual Reality for Han”, Sep 2017

-The article on Richmond Times Dispatch, 8/11/2019, Sunday