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Dario Srbic

MPhil work

Synthetic Eros: Epistemology and Ana-materiality of Distributed Intelligence

Development of artificial intelligence is mainly imagined today as an apocalyptic journey towards menacing algorithmic agents which would make humans obsolete or even annihilate them implied both by the military discourse of cybernetics as well as a projection of society’s anxieties. Synthetic Eros seeks to create an alternative answer to the military choice of “the least of all possible evils” by allowing algorithms certain form of play and pleasure. By taking Duchamp’s move from traditional into conceptual art or in de Duve’s words from “this is beautiful” to “this is art” as an already distributed art, and art-practice it enables collaborative and hybrid exchange between human and algorithmic agents.

Methodologically it employs the notion of synthetic in three strands of artificial life modelling: hard (hardware-based machines mainly understood as robots), soft (software based models like artificial neural networks), and wet (wetware or biochemically based models). It brings together Golding’s ana-materialism, the analytical notions of artificial through Kantian synthetic a priori (again in the light of Duchamp-de Duve’s move) and subsequently Lyotard’s discourse on knowledge with the contemporary mathematical tools of algorithmic learning and knowledge representation systems. 

The synthetic is carried over to Foucauldian discussion of eros as pleasure concerning the current use of technology to mime those pleasure principles like Google’s framework called Dopamine with a reward system similar to ours. This move enables a possibility of a synthetic or algorithmic form of play (as eros) which in this research takes place through a centaurian figure of half-artist, half-algorithm that creates and explores a shape-shifting multidimensionality of distributed intelligence in form of laser exposed photographic metallic prints, 3D printing, and sculptures produced by industrial robotic arms.

Keywords: cybernetics, Duchamp, play, ana-materialism, algorithmic learning, knowledge, pleasure, distributed intelligence, digital sculpture


  • MPhil


    School of Arts & Humanities


    Arts & Humanities Research, 2017–

  • Dario Srbic is an artist and researcher whose work investigates algorithmic art, affective computing, robotics, parametric design, and ethics of artificial intelligence in context of transgression, obsession, difference and repetition, whilst incorporating at the methodological level contemporary theoretical tools regarding radical matter, new materialisms and the political.

  • Degrees

  • MA Contemporary Photography; Practices and Philosophies, Central Saint Martins, 2015
  • Exhibitions

  • Le Grand K, Science Museum, London, 2019; Data Loam, Angewandte Innovation Lab, Vienna, 2019; RAW, Hockney Gallery, Royal College of Art, London 2019; Entkunstung / Verkunstung, Austrian Cultural Forum, Berlin, 2019; FLIGHT MODE, Assembly Point and Asylum, London, 2018; photo::vienna 2017, MAK Museum, Vienna, 2017; Intergenic, Seen Fifteen, London, 2016; None of the Above - An Exhibition, La Casa Amarilla, Malaga, 2016; PHOTOMASTERS, Old Truman Brewery, London, 2015; Pingyao International Photography Festival, Shanxi, 2015; The Deleted World, 5th Base Gallery, London, 2015; Piercing the Veil, Simmons & Simmons Contemporary Art Collection, London, 2015; CONFLUX Exhibition, Trinity Buoy Wharf, London, 2015; New Weapons, Blitz Gallery, Valletta, 2015; Degree Show One, Central Saint Martins, London, 2015; London Art Fair x Canvas Bar, Canvas Bar, London, 2015; Big Space III, Central Saint Martins, London, 2014; Art Auction 2014 by Sotheby’s, Lethaby Gallery, London, 2014; Illuminations, The Crypt, London, 2014; Tomorrow : Today, Bargehouse, London, 2014; ANTIBODIES, Central Saint Martins, London, 2013; ACSA 3 Presentation, AUTOCENTER, Berlin, 2013; Unterströmung, Sixtus Villa, Berlin, 2013; Idle in Berlin, [f.u.c.] bar, Berlin, 2013; Verbote im Kunstraum, Leopold Museum, Vienna, 2011; Las proyecciones de La Fábrica, La Fábrica Galería, Barcelona, 2009; EuroLab, 29e Festival International du Film d’Amiens, Amiens, 2009; Uncensored Bodies, Wi-fi Body Festival 3, Manila, Philippines, 2008
  • Awards

  • Shortlisted, Lowe Mullen NOVA Award, 2015; Juried Winner, Photographic Angle Award, 2014; Juried winner in the PHOTOGRAPHY Category, ArtSlant Showcase competition, 2013; Selection, Descrubimientos Photoespaña, 2012; Selection, Eikon Photography Competition, 2011
  • Conferences

  • (Algo)Rythmic Refrains, (Un)Sound Barrier, Royal College of Art, 2019; Can a Robot Become a Desiring Body?, NAFAE Conference, Royal College of Art, 2019; (De)generative Art: Rules-transgressing Algorithms, EVA London, 2018; (R)encounter in Digital, paintingdigitalphotography, University of Derby, 2017; Fissures in the Image of Thought, Photography in 21st Century, Central Saint Martins, 2015; Ghost in the Image, Twice Upon a Time Conference, Birmingham Institute of Art and Design, 2014
  • Publications

  • (De)generative Art: Rules-transgressing Algorithms, Enkunstung, II, 2018, 150-51; Fissures in the Image of Thought, Philosophy of Photography, Volume 6, Issue 1&2, 2016, 107-113