GS&P and Artificial Intelligence Bring Salvador Dalí Back to Life 30 Years Later

By Patrick Coffee 

Surrealist pioneer Salvador Dalí was, by all accounts, fascinated with advertising.

So he would probably be amused to know that he will soon return from beyond, Tupac style, in a collaboration between the St. Petersburg Dalí Museum, Goodby Silverstein & Partners, and a healthy dose of artificial intelligence.

According to the release, the project used machine learning to create “an uncanny resurrection of the mustached master.” Starting in April, visitors can hear the man himself—or some approximation thereof—and even interact with him on screens throughout the “Dalí Lives” exhibit.


Yesterday, GS&P released three shorts on the 30th anniversary of his death. They’re teasers for the larger project.

The sensual Spanish guitar is very real.

This longest piece gives us a fuller picture of the project as the new Dalí addresses his philosophical relationship with death, meaning both the concept and his own passing.

Finally, Dalí amps up the hype.

The museum site tells us a bit more about the project, which marks the third collaboration between that institution and GS&P:

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.

Executive director Dr. Hank Hine said, “Dali was prophetic in many ways and understood his historical importance. This technology lets visitors experience his bigger-than-life personality in addition to our unparalleled collection of his works.”

And from the man himself: “If someday I may die, though it is unlikely, I hope the people in the cafes will say, ‘Dali has died, but not entirely.’”

The odd ads he made will live forever. Here are a few.