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Salvador Dalí Museum Makes Public the AI-Powered Virtual Doppelgänger Ahead of Artist’s 120th Birthday


As the 120th birthday of surrealist icon Salvador Dalí approaches, the Salvador Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida, introduces an innovative ad campaign. This initiative features an AI-driven incarnation of Dalí’s voice, enabling visitors to engage with a virtual version of the artist.

AI Technology Implementation

Developed by San Francisco-based agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners (GS&P), the project harnesses archival materials from the museum, including Dalí’s writings and audio recordings. Leveraging machine learning models GPT-4 from OpenAI and Eleven V2 from ElevenLabs, visitors interact with the AI Dalí through a physical replica of his iconic Lobster Telephone sculpture. Questions posed by visitors prompt audible responses generated by the AI, replicating Dalí’s speech patterns and intonation.

Continued Collaboration and Previous Ventures

This installation marks the museum’s ongoing collaboration with GS&P, following previous endeavors such as “Dalí Lives” in 2019 and “Dream Tapestry” in 2023. In these projects, museum-goers engaged in activities ranging from interacting with digital recreations of Dalí to generating digital paintings based on dream descriptions.

Tribute to Dalí’s Legacy

Museum director Hank Hine views the digital campaign as a fitting homage to Dalí, renowned for infusing uncanniness into his artistry. The project aligns with Dalí’s spirit of innovation and creativity, offering visitors a unique and immersive experience.

Response to Criticism

While some critics express concerns about the commercialisation of historical figures in museum spaces, GS&P’s creative technology director, Martin Pagh Ludvigsen, defends the project. In an interview with Inc. magazine, Ludvigsen describes the AI technology as a “learning tool,” emphasising its role in enhancing visitor engagement rather than detracting from the museum’s legitimacy.

Comparison with Similar Projects

The Salvador Dalí Museum’s AI initiative echoes similar endeavors by other museums, such as the Musée D’Orsay’s “Bonjour Vincent” project featuring an AI-generated replica of Vincent Van Gogh. These projects illustrate museums’ exploration of AI’s potential to bridge historical figures with contemporary audiences.

Through its innovative use of AI technology, the Salvador Dalí Museum continues to push boundaries in art engagement, offering visitors a dynamic and interactive encounter with one of history’s most celebrated surrealist artists.

Feature Image: Salvador Dalí Museum, St. Petersburg, Florida|Courtesy: wikipedia

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