Da Vinci’s simple but elegant study of a bear’s head (“Head of a Bear”) is a showcase of da Vinci’s perceptiveness and curiosity; one of a handful of studies on a bear that explore it’s appearance, anatomy, and motion. Hacakatao’s “Hack of a Bear” is an homage to and a commentary on the simple, elegant power of the da Vinci drawing and the collision between two pieces and two worlds half a millennium apart. Drawing on da Vinci’s commitment to motion and movement, “Hack of a Bear” lends “Head of a Bear” a second life in three dimensions in the metaverse.
Da Vinci himself sought to understand on a biomechanical and anatomical level his subjects. His bear studies are no exception; in addition to the sketch of the head there are concurrent studies of a bear in motion and the anatomy of a bear’s foot. Da Vinci, so concerned with instilling in his subjects a sense of physicality and motion, would be deeply interested in and appreciative of the technologies and techniques that allow a subject to be brought to life with the motion and depth found in the Hackatao piece.
Perpetually generations ahead of his contemporaries in his foresight and technological understanding (this is a man who conceived of and designed a model for technologically viable solar power circa 1500), da Vinci was never limited to a single field of study or practice, instead intertwining his various studies into a powerful and comprehensive approach to each individual undertaking. Such a mindset is of ever-increasing importance in the fluid and dynamic contemporary technological landscape.
Da Vinci — the prototypical polymath — would additionally be delighted by the very nature of mixed media pieces that are prominent in the NFT art scene. What would delight such a mind more than the added depth and dimension of the digital landscape? With a legacy such as his, it is a worthy and significant gesture to bring Da Vinci into these digital spaces, to pay homage to such a voracious and forward-facing mind, and to breathe new life into the NFT scene by looking back while moving forward.
Hackatao’s piece, in enabling the growth and emergence of the drawing into a multidimensional multimedia digital platform, works as a potent metaphor for the power and potential of the medium and the NFT community as a whole. Broad contemporary engagement requires motion and immersion; Hackatao’s piece brings both to the forefront, enlivening, animating, and commenting on a 500+ year old piece. It brings the past into a fully realized digital existence. The detail and texture of the piece further connects the legacy of the original piece and artist to our shared digital landscape, playfully reimagining many of Da Vinci’s major works in an aesthetic familiar to Hackatao’s oeuvre and the NFT scene.
Hackatao has donated the original 3D object “Hack of a Bear” to the Museum of Crypto Art (M○C△) and it is on display in Somnium Space as of July 9, 2021. The piece will also be exhibited in Decentraland from July 11th.