Resurrecting Salvador Dali
Exceptional artist and eccentric Salvador Dali would have been 115 years old this year. In the virtual world at least, he can now blow out the candles on his birthday cake: The Dali Museum has brought him back to life with Deepfake in the Dali Lives experience.
Have you always dreamt of a selfie with Dali, preferably taken by the master himself? If you're planning a trip to Florida in the USA anytime soon, free up some wall space for a framed copy, because the most eccentric surrealist of the 20th century, Salvador Dali, is back.
Together with the Goody Silverstein & Partners creative agency, The Dali Museum has launched the Dali Lives project, using artificial intelligence (AI) to catapult the artist into the present. From a video screen, Dali talks to visitors as if he were there in the flesh.
Not only has the artist’s face and voice been recreated; his views, manner of speech and body language are also strikingly real. Hundreds of interviews, letters, quotations, and video material flowed into the installation to make the artist's virtual Deepfake ego as lifelike as possible.
More than 6,000 frames were created to mimic Dali’s facial expressions over 1,000 hours of machine learning and also master his physical and linguistic peculiarities. This comprehensive database was then used to generate 125 video clips in which the virtual Dali expresses his ideas about all manner of things and interacts with museum visitors – including taking a selfie. The technology behind the installation had garnered mostly negative attention in the past, when Deepfake was used to splice the faces of prominent actresses onto porn
footage for example. Deepfake makes it possible to create fake, but deceptively authentic videos of people.
The director of The Dali, Dr Hank Hine, is confident the project will gives visitors a different way of accessing the artist’s work: “If visitors can empathize with this man as a human being, then they can relate to his works much more directly and much more passionately. It’s a special entry into Dali’s spirit, allowing visitors to engage with the artist in a completely revolutionary way.”
“If someday I may die, though it is unlikely, I hope the people in the cafes will say, Dali has died, though not entirely.” Salvador Dali