Said The Cat – “We are all mad here”

by Eleonora Brizi

A new piece by Hackatao, where physical and digital art exist together in a dream. 

For those who do not know this artist duo from Italy yet, Hackatao: “Hack”, for the pleasure of going under the skin and discover what’s hidden inside, in the pure hacker spirit. “Tao”, because Nadia ans Sergio are Yin and Yang and they exist in a creative dynamic balance.

Nadia and Sergio in their studio

The path of Hackatao started a quite few years ago in Milan, when they met for the first time in 2005. Both their passion for each other and for each other’s art – that gave birth to the formation of the duo – started because of Podmorks, the little creatures that now represent Hackatao’s signature sculptures.

As many of you would know, in the fifth Canto (Chapter) of the Inferno – Dante’s Divine Comedy – Paolo and Francesca fall in love while reading the book of Lancelot and his passionate love: “The book and writer both were love’s purveyors. In its leaves that day We read no more.” As for Hackatao, we like to think that Podmorks were their love’s purveyors.

A selection of Podmorks by Hackatao - courtesy of Zanini Gallery

At that point, the unmistakable unique Hackatao’s style came to life: the detailed meticulous black and white drawn part – Sergio; and the flat style, colorful pop part – Nadia. A complementary combination where a beautiful and kind cage of colors contains that creative flux that would be otherwise out of control.

In 2012, Hackatao left the city (Milan) for the mountains, immerging both their personal and artistic life in nature and technology. After exploring sculpture, canvas and different techniques, in April 2018, digital and blockchain come on the scene and would never again abandon the artists.

It was another cold winter in Carnia, about two years ago, when Sergio was home – as many other mountaineers who have finished their outdoor activities and rest together with nature, using their time to study and create – reading one of his favorite magazines “The Sciences”. This time, he bumped into an article extensively talking about the blockchain technology and its practical potential. It wasn’t really an epiphany, since the artist had already been hearing about the blockchain for a while, but it was different: he thought of its application to art. The rest is history, but this is another story. As well as another story is the blockchain technology and its application to art: we will tell you everything about it soon! Just stay tuned.

Meanwhile, very briefly, the blockchain is a technology that provides the digital art pieces (therefore not physical) with a certificate of authenticity and provenance; and most importantly, it creates what we could call the “copyrights” for artists, who will be remunarated with the 10% of the price at which their art pieces will be sold in the secondary market: forever. (Read the article that I wrote for MoCDA, the Museum of Contemporary and Digital Art, regarding the art secondary market and the blockchain)

Going back to Hackatao and their involvmente with the tech and the blockchain world:

the artist duo quicly became flourishing in the crypto art scene and soon they were considered amongst the top artists pioneering the space. Their involvement in the crypto art scene and their contribution to its community – one of the most remarkable and special aspects of the space – are crucial.

Hackatao's presence on SuperRare: one of the most active platforms for crypto art

Animating their physical works into digital and experimenting with any sort of digital tools and artistic medium, Hackatao’s art pieces are often involved with the main issues of society, environment, humanity, as well as references to art history, symbolism and psychology.

In this article, we will explore the theme of “dreams” through the launch of one of their new art pieces “Said The Cat”.

Said The Cat, Hackatao, 2020
Graphite, Ink, Acrylic on canvas and Enamel finish + digital animation in Augmented Reality
50 × 40 × 6 cm
Price: $5,600

The canvas comes with a digital animation in Augmented Reality with music, tokenized on the blockchain (on-chain metadata and Arweave/IPFS file storage via infiNFT). The digital animation in AR is visible by scanning the canvas through the app ArtiVive. You download the app, you open it and you place your phone in front of the canvas: you will see that your painting will become alive.

The piece is presented and for sale in a way which is inclusive of both its two specular and complementary identities: physical and digital. On the primary market, physical and digital are inseparable. On the secondary, the digital token will live an independent life and you will be able to resell it detached from the canvas. Being on the blockchain, the artists will forever be remunarated with the 10% of the price at which the digital piece will be sold on the secondary market.

Dreams is a fond topic for the art of Hackatao, a language they like to explore because it belongs to them deep inside. Dreams are energy revealing. During rem sleep, the subconscious manifests and communicates, like the son of Sleep manifesting in human form. Dreams are a source of inspiration for their art and for discussion about what might get missed in the flow of reality.

Podmorks were born from a dream, as well as other pieces.

Sergio tells:

“Dreams are so important to me. I dream a lot, sometimes even full movies or whole symphonies that unfortunately I am unable to transliterate on paper since I am not a musician. We decided to leave Milan after a dream and it occurs to me to have lucid dreams, where you are conscious about the dream and you can manipulate however you wish to. Sometimes it is experiences outside of the body, but having also a very solid scientific side in me, I live those moments both as a shaman and as a skeptic. Being a relativist, it is not diffucult for me to live in double manifestations of truth”.

This aspect is also crucial for the creation of their art. The creative energy is constantly in action, the creative mind never stops, the creative process continues during the dreaming phase. On the contrary, Nadia “doesn’t dream” but it is more like she is constantly living in a dream, spontaneously, leaping for joy for each mushroom she would find in the woods.

One of the books that would have shaped irreversibly Sergio’s vision and approach to life and art is “Psychology and Alchemy” by C. G. Jung. It is a collection of dreams that Jung explained in terms of alchemy.

Images from the book "Psychology and Alchemy" by C. G. Jung

All these theories and personal experiences with dreams are meticulously drawn in the canvas of “Said The Cat”: you just have to search for them and enjoy.

“A dream is not reality, but who’s to say which is which?”

Epiphanies, déjà vu, déjà rêvé: everything indissolubly connected.Our Alice is wondering in Wonderland. And so are we, maybe vanishing, melting even. Living in this constant hanging, that same eternal suspended equilibrium of art, between the imaginary and the “real”.

Truth and real, dream and fantasy. We pick the red pill, thank you.

Are we mad now?

“We’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”


Said The Cat, Hackatao, 2020 – is on sale at Breezy Art. Please contact us for inquiries at or on any of our social media.