BeetsDAO Celebrates "The time stood still" by Ivona Tau

BeetsDAO is proud to add Ivona Tau’s “The time stood still” to our collection and collaborate with her as a participant in the inaugural season of our artist incubator program. The following is a foreword from program curator JO7 in celebration of the artist and her work.

Since the earliest prehistoric ages, humans have used tools to make their mark on their surroundings. From markings in cave walls to sculpted rocks, the urge to express one’s self seems to be deeply embedded into the human condition. At some point, a word emerged for this expression of self and mark-making: art.

Fast forward eons and what began as creating impressions on cave rocks has evolved to artists carving their marks on the blockchain—our shared, permanent canvas. Upon this canvas, a new vanguard of artists is finding novel ways to create. Among this group stands Ivona Tau, an artist whose toolkit consists of code and craft and whose process involves not just using machines as tools but as collaborators.

The process for Tau’s recent series of work entails training generative adversarial networks (GANs), a type of machine learning framework, and relying on them to interpret her photographic works into an entirely new work altogether. The work resulting from this collaboration between woman and machine at once arrests the viewer's eyes while challenging their mind.

To view Tau's "The time stood still" is to engage in a series of introspective and even profound questions. My first viewing of the animated visual work left me feeling a combined sense of mystery and nostalgia. With each subsequent loop, I found myself projecting personal memories.

The neon lights of Seoul.

The lights on the Bay Bridge of San Francisco.

The towering apartments in Taipei during monsoon season.

As I considered these memories along with the role of machine learning in this piece, I began noticing a deepening sense of connection—to the artist, the technical code, and to my own past. Perhaps that is the beauty of “The time stood still,” a piece that proves man’s heart can be moved by machine…if only we stood still.

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