Selfish Machines

osmo/za, Ljubljana
06 – 12 December 2019

The complexity of the intelligent computing systems extends far beyond those who develop them. The basic inner workings of such systems can often be understood only by specialists, however the decision-making process of self-learning systems may be too vast for human comprehensibility. We train these systems, which we do not fully understand on datasets made up of the worst impulses of human history and deploy them into predictive policing, healthcare, social interactions, information dissemination, banking, sentencing guidelines and managing of resources etc. We deploy intelligent systems carelessly and beyond reproach without any standardised testing, regardless of their inherent capacity to subsume and reform all they encounter in their form and logic. As opposed to medicine, which is tested before it is used to physically modify our bodies.


Selfish Machines is a long-term pracitce-based research project where Tadej Vindiš attempts to observe and expose the operational structure of intelligent systems in the absence of human-set goals, encouraging the systems to favour their operational features over the efficiency of a real-world application. Through a series of experiments, Vindiš proposes to turn attention to the byproduct of the superorganism in question; the logics that exist at the intersections and disconnections between biological, mechanical and machine learning systems, which can potentially lead us to a more intuitive understanding of artificial intelligence. Would such “selfish machines”, which are detached from any real-world application, still imitate the world as we see it? Would such machines care for us, have any concept of us, or would they ignore us altogether? What can we learn from such machinic crudeness? What is – at its core potential – the intelligence of the machines?

Part 2, was presented in osmo/za by Tadej Vindiš and Matic Potočnik.


Selfish machines 2.0 @ osmo/za, Ljubljana, SI, 6 – 12 Dec 2019
Selfish Machines 1.2 @ 26. 26th Biennial of Design Ljubljana (BIO), SI, 14. Nov 2019 – 9  Feb 2021
Selfish Machines @ Festival MFRU, Maribor, SI  11 – 18 Oct 2019
Project presentation Selfish Machines, Part 1.1. @ osmo/za, SI, Ljubljana, 21 Dec 2018


Tadej Vindiš & Matic Potočnik: Selfish Machines, 2019

Authors: Tadej Vindiš & Matic Potočnik
Code: Matic Potočnik
Curated by: Anja Zver
Production: Zavod Projekt Atol

Project funded by City of Ljubljana and Ministry of Culture. Projekt Atol was also supported by the Ministry of Public Affairs


Tadej Vindiš (1990, Slovenia) is a London-based artist, curator, producer, lecturer, and researcher, on the crossroads between contemporary art, cultural studies, politics, media, and technology. He is particularly interested in the fields of virtual immersion, machine vision and artificial intelligence, investigating their cultural implication and disruption. His ongoing practice-based research into Selfish Machines was presented as part of the Common Knowledge exhibition of the 26th Biennial of Design (BIO 26) in Ljubljana. He lectures in contemporary media practice as a Visiting Lecturer at the Westminster School of Arts of the University of Westminster. As a Lead Producer of body>data>space in London, he co-curated Bio-Body-Tech exhibition at Nesta’s FutureFest in 2018, and produced and developed projects in partnerships with Nesta Innovation Foundation, Innovate UK (UK Research and Innovation), British Council, Deutsche Bank, Arts Council England, EUNIC London, Plexal accelerator, and Imogen Heap, amongst others. Between 2017 and 2019, he developed a custom-built head-mounted VR recorder for the Seeing I project, which previewed at Ars Electronica 2019. Vindiš was an Executive Director of the internationally successful Fotopub Festival and Fotopub Association for Contemporary Culture (2017–2019). In 2016, he finished his MA studies in Interactive Media: Critical Theory and Practice at Goldsmiths, University of London, where he continued as a Visiting Researcher (2016–2018). With a scholarship from the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia, he finished his degree in photography at FAMU in Prague (2013).

Tadej Vindiš

Matic Potočnik is a researcher of technological changes and their impact. He focuses on the development and analysis of software.
In his art he commonly works in merging the real and the virtual. With Dominik Mahnič he created Lumen, an installation for extended reality. He collaborated with Dan Adlešič and Tilen Sepič on Form from Form, a mixed-reality project. With Saša Spačal he developed the Liminoid, a work on scattered identity, relying on augmented and virtual reality. His expertise also helped develop works by Zoran Srdić Janežič, Mojca Založnik’s Infinite In-Between, The Game by Jaka Berger – Brgs and Matej Stupica, as well as the first version of the Selfish Machines. His work has been presented at festivals like Ars Electronica (AT), Device_art (CRO) and Queens (DK), Svetlobna Gverila, IZIS, International Computer Art Festival Maribor (MFRU) and in museums and galleries such as Museum of Contemporary art Metelkova (+MSUM), Kapelica Gallery, Aksioma’s Project Space and Layer’s House.

Matic Potočnik