ST. PETERSBURG, Florida – An exhibition that has brought surrealist painter Salvador Dali back to life using artificial intelligence is offering visitors a chance to snap a selfie with the Spaniard who once said he did not believe in death.
“Dali Lives” presents a life-size version of the artist (1904-1989) using archive footage featuring over 6,000 frames and sophisticated artificial intelligence technology.
“Dali was prophetic in many ways and understood his historical importance,” Hank Hine, executive director at The Dali Museum said.
“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,” Hanke added.
“Oh la, la! Very beautiful,” the AI Dali exclaims upon “seeing” a selfie that has just been snapped.
The artist adds that it is so thanks to the photogenic qualities of the guest who can take a copy of the snapshot.
This is the latest exhibition at the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg that offers viewers a modern take on the museum experience, which they describe as “art meets artificial intelligence.”
The museum has a vast collection of 2,000 works by the Catalan artist, including oil paintings, illustrations, watercolors, prints, photographs, sculptures, documents, books and objects the painter owned.
The cutting-edge show would have coincided with Dali’s 115th birthday.
There are three portals scattered around the museum grounds featuring videos of the artist.
At all times Dali speaks in the present tense: “It is great to be back,” he says, even though his lifeless body has been in a casket for 30 years now.
While “Dali” waits for someone to “call him,” he sits calmly tapping his fingers.
When summoned, he gets closer and starts chatting to visitors in a thick Spanish accent.
The painter even cracks a joke or two, such as drawing out an elegant cigarette case from which he extracts copies of his famous mustache.
And with his renowned pomposity, he admits to viewers that they may just be beholding one of the most sublime people ever, while acknowledging that modesty was never his specialty.
Audience members exposed to this positively bizarre experience react with surprise and awe as Dali saunters on screen sporting a black smoking jacket, crisp white shirt, tie and waistcoat.
“It’s great! It’s very well done,” Mary Johnson told EFE of the exhibition.
Another visitor, Claire Say, added that what the museum had achieved was truly unique, just like Dali’s masterworks.
“There is only one difference between a madman and me. I am not mad,” Say said, quoting the famed artist who also said of himself: “I am the most paradoxical, most eccentric, and most concentric person in the world.”
The Museum has another show up its sleeve as preparations are underway for the “Visual Magic: Dali’s Masterworks in Augmented Reality,” which launches on June 15.