Self-Portrait by Bostjan Čadež, a computer portraying itself.


In Self-Portrait, a new media installation by Bostjan Čadež presented in December 2013 at the Institute for Contemporary Art in Ljubljana, a computer placed on a chair in front of a mirror looks at its mirrored image through a webcam. By interacting with a pen that paints a canvas on an easel, it realizes its own portrait in grayscale. But this self-portrait is more than the static reproduction of an image taken at a given moment in time. It’s a real process, in which the computer doesn’t just draw itself in a linear and unique fashion, always following the same direction or repeating the same lines as in a mechanical copy and paste, but with a certain degree of “freedom”. When it translates the vision of itself into a pictorial image, the computer makes choices based on calculations that compute the surrounding space moment by moment. The final outcome is a series of self-portraits not in the least identical that exhibit differences in painting and technical choices. Self-Portrait questions the object of the investigation of each artist’s self-portrait: the identity of the self. Leaving the computer a certain degree of freedom in deciding how to play back the representation of itself, Boštjan Čadež investigates the possibility of the machine not being seen as a mere executor of a program, but as an entity which follows somehow its own view of itself, suggesting questions about the degree of awareness, freedom and creativity possible for an electronic brain. Ylenia Cafaro


Bostjan Čadež – Self-Portrait, A Computer Portraying Itself