Florida Museum Brings Salvador Dali Back to Life With AI

  • Dali and his pet ocelot

    Dali and his pet ocelot

    Bruce Higgins photo / via Wikipedia

Imagine legendary surrealist artist Salvador Dali personally welcoming you, even sharing observations on current events and the motivations behind his masterpieces. The Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida announced, on the 30th anniversary of the artist’s death, that it will celebrate Dali’s art and legacy with “Dali Lives,” a groundbreaking experience to be unveiled exclusively at The Dali in April 2019.

Visitors to the Museum will soon have the opportunity to learn more about Dali’s life and work from the person who knew him best: the artist himself. Using an artificial intelligence (AI)-based cutting edge technique, the new “Dali Lives” experience employs machine learning to create a version of Dali’s likeness, resulting in an uncanny resurrection of the mustached master. When the experience opens, visitors will for the first time be able to interact with an engaging lifelike Salvador Dali on a series of screens throughout the Museum.

“Dali was prophetic in many ways and understood his historical importance,” says Dr. Hank Hine, executive director at The Dali. “He wrote, If someday I may die, though it is unlikely, I hope the people in the cafes will say, ‘Dali has died, but not entirely.’ This technology lets visitors experience his bigger-than-life personality in addition to our unparalleled collection of his works.”

The Dali partnered with Goodby Silverstein & Partners of San Francisco (GS&P) to bring the master of Surrealism to life. The Museum began this immersive project by collecting and sharing hundreds of interviews, quotes, and existing archival footage from the prolific artist. GS&P used these extensive materials to train an AI algorithm to “learn” aspects of Dali’s face, then looked for an actor with the same general physical characteristics of Dali’s body. The AI then generates a version of Dali’s likeness to match the actor’s face and expressions. To educate visitors while engaging with “Dali Lives,” the Museum used authentic writings from Dali himself – coupled with dynamic present-day messages – reenacted by the actor.

The “Dali Lives” project further demonstrates the Museum’s commitment to staying on the forefront of technology, embracing new methods to engage guests in unconventional ways to delight and educate them about Salvador Dali and his works. Sometimes controversial like Dali himself, this emerging technology is being used for the first time in inspiring service to art.

The revolutionary experience has been announced alongside introductory teaser videos. While gazing directly into the camera, Dali appears to challenge the idea of his own death, providing an impressive preview of what the experience will look like when it premieres at The Dali Museum in April 2019.

This is the third collaboration between The Dali and GS&P. The duo first introduced “Gala Contemplating You” as part of a 2014 exhibition which turned a visitor’s selfie into a projected, full-scale replica of the 1976 monumental painting Gala Contemplating the Mediterranean Sea Which at Twenty Meters Becomes the Portrait of Abraham Lincoln (Homage to Rothko). Then in 2016, they partnered together for the “Dreams of Dali” virtual reality experience, which transports viewers into Dali’s painting, Archaeological Reminiscence of Millet’s “Angelus.” “Dreams of Dali” has been recognized by the Cannes Lions and Webby Awards, among others, and guests can enjoy the experience as part of the permanent collection at The Dali or on their own VR devices.

To view the teaser videos and for additional information on “Dali Lives” and The Dali Museum, visit TheDali.org/DaliLives.

 

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