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Art meets Artificial Intelligence as museum resurrects Salvador Dalí

The Dali Museum in Florida have unveiled an inventive artificial intelligence project that will give visitors the opportunity to learn more about Dali’s life and work from the person who knew him best: the artist himself.

Using cutting edge artificial intelligence (AI) techniques, the new “Dali Lives” experience employs machine learning to create a version of Dali’s likeness, resulting in an uncanny resurrection of the moustached master.

When the experience opens in April 2019, visitors will 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 the project by collecting and sharing hundreds of interviews, quotes, and existing archival footage from the prolific artist. GS&P used these 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 museum’s artificial intelligence technology 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 museum states that the project ‘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.’

The artificial intelligence museum 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 a preview of what the experience will look like when it premieres at The Dali Museum in April 2019.

The Dali Museum joins a growing list of museums experimenting with artificial intelligence. The Pinacoteca of São Paulo partnered with IBM in 2017 to create an artificial intelligence audio guide that allowed visitors to talk with paintings, while other institutions are looking to AI to give them predictive analytics using big data.

The Dali Museum, located in the heart of downtown St. Petersburg, Florida, is home to an unparalleled collection of Salvador Dali art, featuring more than 2,000 works comprising nearly 100 oil paintings; over 100 watercolors and drawings; and 1,300 prints, photographs, sculptures and objets d’art.

About the author – Jim Richardson

Jim Richardson is the founder of MuseumNext. He has worked as a consultant to the museum sector for more than twenty years advising on technology and leadership. Jim now splits his time between running innovation consultancy for museums and leading our museum conferences around the globe.

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