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Hackatao merges the cultured quotations from the past to bold and ultra-contemporary forms, standing out as an innovative exponent of the current artistic scenario. The artistic diptych Hackatao is formed by Sergio Scalet and Nadia Squarci. The duo was formed in Milan in 2007 working together with the creation of the Podmork, sculptures with soft and totemic forms, which are at the center of their imaginative research.






FIGHT FEAR + Cryptoart
Solo Show / 15 Dicembre / Palazzo Frisacco – Tolmezzo (ud)








In the occasion of ETH Turin, MoCDA curator Eleonora Brizi and artist duo Hackatao set up CR(Y)PTALY, the first Cryptovoxels exhibition of Italian crypto artists. Our art editor Chiara Braidotti had a sneak peek at their work…


Eleonora, coming from the contemporary art scene, how was it to approach curation in VR? What advantages and downsides does Cryptovoxels have in comparison to traditional art venues?

Honestly, my approach to curation was the same as for the contemporary art scene. I always want to treat art the same way, regardless of whether it has a digital or physical form.

The opening night is maybe the most important moment for an art show, the time when the space really comes to life. A downside of Cryptovoxels is the lack of energy during the opening. While in a real space you would meet, laugh and exchange ideas, in VR you can’t. I got ready for real, though! I showered, dressed up, put make-up on, even if no one could see me, of course (well actually yes, on the videoconference for ETH Turin).

As an advantage, Cryptovoxels allows you to invite half the world through a link, and people can actually participate, I loved it! You can send as many invitations as you like for an event in the real world, but it’s unthinkable that everyone will show up. That is possible online: virtual spaces can really cancel space-time barriers.

The exhibited artists were chosen through an open call and you mentioned how interesting it was to find out about their artistic identity. Can you describe each one of them with one word?

Sure, here we go!

Arctic: youth, Cicatriciebaci: woman, Alessia Cottons: costume, Mattia Cuttini: mad scientist, Donnoh: hypnosis, Fabiello: path, Hackatao: completeness, hex6c: knowledge, KaySha: spumante, Prometheus: riot, Serste: humanity, Fabiano Sperzari: universe, Undeadlu: vaporwave, Van Gango: doodle, Cristiana Vettor: nature, White Dada: esperanto


Did the space influence the artwork selection or was it the other way around? For instance, I am thinking about the room devoted to KaySha's works. 

As for a real venue, there is a continuous dialogue between art and space. I selected the artworks looking at content and the number of pieces to be shown based on the amount of production in the author’s artistic career. In the meantime, Hackatao built the gallery and placed in it the works I had chosen.

Sometimes we decided to change a selected work because it didn’t fit in the room where it was placed. One of hex6c’s reverse-engineered pieces, Schotter – Take II, wasn’t shown as its colors simply didn’t work with the rest of the space.

For KaySha's production, the room came first, and the work was chosen for it. Hackatao wanted a space in which people would feel trapped, and the sisters’ duo were the only ones who could create panic!

Anyway, every time you exhibit art, whether in virtual or physical space, the work and its surroundings have an interrelation. That was also true when I worked in Ai Weiwei’s studio, he would always look at the space first, either to fill it with the most fitting pieces or to possibly produce a new piece inspired by it. In CR(Y)PTALY too there was a site-specific work: the 3D figure designed for the hall by KaySha, sculpted directly in VR.


Do you have a favorite piece or room in the gallery?

Yes, there’s a place where I would go even before the opening, just to spend time with the works in it. It really comforts me. I’m talking about Undeadlu’s Cyber Prayer and the room where it’s displayed. The work to me shows a forgiving mother, between human and machine, in the act of praying. Together with two other pieces by the same artist, again showing feminine figures, it creates a sense of shared nostalgia and yet resilience, powerfully speaking about current times.

At the ETH Turin conference, you said there are no common factors in the themes and topics of Italian crypto artworks, but you noticed they share a stronger “physical presence.” Can you expand on that?

Sure! First of all, I was happy not to find stereotypes or precise replicas among the works of Italian crypto artists, they all explored different topics and approaches!

What I mean by “physical presence” is that many artists come from physical art: some are transitioning, some explore generative possibilities, some combine the two languages, seeking a balance between digital and material art.

To me, Hackatao’s work is just art. Coming from matter, consistent in style, rich in themes and references, you cannot draw a line between digital means and physical materials in it: it’s the perfect intersection of the two. An artist as Mattia Cuttini instead continuously changes mediums and methods. Still, paper is where he comes from and where he often goes back to - just consider the crypto art catalog he recently printed.

Materials are crucial to White Dada, who before compressing words on digital canvasses prints them in enamel on real ones, and Van Gango, a trained painter. Arctic too told me she has always been drawing in her life, but after realizing that there were too many rules encoded in drawings, she turned to generative art, where code is openly part of the creative process. And finally, someone like Fabiello found anything he’s ever looked for in crypto art, where he could combine his two big passions: drawing and technology. Maybe, the most natively digital of all are KaySha, with their young age and their VR sculpture.


What is your opinion on the role of curation in the context of crypto art and VR? Did this experience change your views?

Curation is great in many contexts, I find it necessary and beautiful. I curated an auction of digital art on the blockchain and more recently spoke at the Async auction of Cypher::Prophet, so I had the chance to talk about the pieces and the stories behind them in the digital scene. People are happy to get insights, they thank you for explaining things. We all need to hear what a work has to say at first glance, art has to speak directly first, but then you need to learn and understand more about it. People must tell stories about art and artists!

Also, for artists themselves curation can be great. They need to hear someone else’s words on their pieces. In CR(Y)PTALY some artists were new to curation and really appreciated it.



Any other projects you are involved in or looking forward to?

Yes! I want to keep curating digital and crypto art, to create a bridge between “nerdland,” the virtual space, and contemporary art in the established world. We need an old, more widely understood language with super new content in art right now, to reach everyone.

I’m trying to do this that with Breezy Art, my gallery. I want it to be online and distributed, with a physical presence, a wall that people can see in real venues too, as I already have in the New York design showroom “Italian Green Design.” Traditional galleries are over: they are fully alive only at the opening night, it’s unsustainable to have them truly full just a few days a year. But of course, digital art needs a physical component to attract traditional collectors, so a native digital piece could be enhanced by a Meural canvas, an opaque screen framed in wood, and coming with a museum look.

As for future projects, I’m setting up a physical exhibition with digital content in Rome, showing crypto artists together with established ones, like Ai Weiwei. It was supposed to open on May 16th, in the amazing location of San Salvatore in Lauro, a beautiful church with cloister and garden, already hosting a museum. This is the perfect setting, a sacred space that Italian people can understand, that helps them to tune in to an aesthetic that’s new to them - if it will happen in Berlin, we could set it up in a bunker instead. Because of the global emergency, it’s currently postponed to September, with the new title of “Renaissance 2020.” The artists are working to provide an answer, a vaccine for souls, to prompt a new renaissance.

Stay tuned!



"We chose XCOPY because we were together at the dawn of SuperRare, but we still know very little about him" 


H: An artist’s style is the expression of their view on reality. What voltage does the electric chair you sit on when you create have?

X: The high voltage comes from within. I look more like Emperor Palpatine every day!


H: You are one of the most mysterious crypto artists around. It is now time you reveal at least what your breakfast is like.

X: I prefer that the art does the talking. For breakfast I had toast with flora, we’re rationing the marmite for the kids. Never thought marmite would become a luxury.


H: Your artistic research seems to be oriented towards portraying disturbed and disturbing characters or stereotypes… Who do you hang out with?

X: Right now, I’m hanging out with my wife and kids and our cat, Clyde. We’re trying not to kill each other in lockdown. My inspiration for characters is usually based on daily encounters and experiences. Everything is potential material. I get spooked the more we slide into dystopia and I try to document it through my art.


H: What is the secret ingredient of your art? You can also mislead us with a false answer...

X: The secret is to keep going. Let go of the last piece and move on. Don’t look back. Don’t get distracted by shiny new toys, focus on your next idea.


H: Maybe not many people know that XCOPY was a program to copy/duplicate the floppy disks of the Amiga 500. When you are not XCOPY do you turn into KILLSYS?

X: My art takes more inspiration from the Amiga 500 games and 80s cartoons than anything in “art history.” Crypto art is just another game for me, but I can use the in-world credits to pay my bills.


Async 2nd Auctions Results

Over the last couple of weeks, Async disclosed some great new programmable art pieces.

Josie’s Master artwork, (un)limited, was sold to MetaKovan for 26.0 ETH (4.240,60 USD), the highest sale price of this auction. In continuity with her "Fed Monkey Series," in her own words it “serves as a timestamp for our current political and economic climate” while “the girl, wearing a protective bitcoin gas mask, provides a solution to the broken system.” The artist herself is still the owner of the All Time High Mask Layer.


Josie’s auction success was followed closely by Transitions, a collaboration between Giant Swan and Frentik Void, sold for 25.0 ETH (4.086,50 USD) to Basileus. With just three Layers, the two artists were able to create a surreal and captivating space for the viewers’ mind to explore.


A remarkable collaborative piece is also Cypher::Prophet, the result of Hackatao and Hex6c’s vision and research, acquired by TokenAngels for 17.0 ETH (2.788,51 USD). Here Master and Layers reach a total of 28 ETH, making the Cypher::Prophet Hex6c’s record sale and Hackatao’s most successful art piece to date in terms of market value. Most importantly, the artwork is a perfect celebration of the origins of blockchain technology and the crypto movement.

Also on display are new works by Blackboxdotart, MattKane, Rutger van der Tas, Shortcut, TwistedVacancy and VansDesign. They explore a variety of themes, from the price of Bitcoin to love, divinities, the passing of time and the reinterpretation of the human in relation to technology. Some pieces are still waiting to be auctioned, while the most expensive ones reached 10.0 ETH.

Osinachi's Master piece too sold for 10.0 ETH (1.634,40 USD) to Ethsquiat. As for the Cypher::Prophet, the value of the story underlying a piece is a trait one can find in Osinachi’s work too. His Choose the Man You Will Become subtly criticizes toxic masculinity as represented by the commonplace hairstyles advertised in barbershops. With its 31 Layers, the control of Osinachi’s artwork programmable future can be shared by the highest number of collectors to date, urging them to make responsible choices in life.