The Ultimate Dali Souvenir:
Augmented Reality (AR) sometimes, escaping reality can be fun – and educational.
Get the Ultimate Dali Souvenir with a selfie with a Dali Masterpiece. That’s what the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg has done with what it’s calling Augmented Reality (AR). Not quite AI – Artificial Intelligence – but close.
In addition to this creative use of technology, the museum has placed all its collection of eight Dali masterworks into one room for the first time since the museum relocated to its current building in 2011.
The The Ultimate Dali Souvenir exhibition is designed to allow visitors to use mobile devices – their own or loaners from the museum – to explore hidden messages in each of the huge masterworks. By pointing their mobile device cameras at a specific painting and at selected images or “hot spots” within the painting, visitors will hear and see information designed to answer the questions most asked by visitors over the years.
Why did Dali do this? What does that mean?
Visual Magic: Dali’s Masterworks in Augmented Reality echoes Dali’s own fascination with myth and symbolism. “We believe he would enjoy AR as an interpretive aid to his multilayered, complex images,” a museum spokesperson said.
And using a mobile device isn’t mandatory for this exhibition. There are TV screens beside each masterwork canvas that further show the “hidden” images and messages. Additionally, the museum has created a platform in the center of the room that allows visitors an elevated view of the masterworks and to access visually the canvases if there’s a crowd in front of the painting they’re looking at.
“A masterwork is a painting that is at least five feet in diameter,” explains Beth Bell, marketing director at The Dali, “and took at least a year to create.” And having all eight in one room “is quite striking, even without AR.”
Visitors can download the free app before arriving or while at the museum simply by going to where they access apps for their mobile devices and seeking out The Dali Museum. After that, it’s point and watch. Portable ear phones are used for narration and, in some cases, sound effects.
In pone painting, a bull snorts. In another, gentle rain can be heard.
“It’s another way to consume this exhibition,” Bell notes.
Perhaps the most remarkable experience at this AR exhibit is the encounter with Dali himself. This is a computerized recreation of Dali using actual still images blended into movement. It is not, Bell emphasizes, an actor in makeup to look like Dali. In this interaction, the computerized “Dali” invites the visitors to take a “selfie” with him – and does. Visitors then come home with a unique, personalized souvenir.
There are other souvenirs to consider. Posters of Dali’s masterworks, if purchased and taken home, can also be activated by the app to give the same animation and narration.
This special Dali and AR exhibition will continue until Nov. 3, Bell said, but the app, once downloaded to your smartphone, will continue to activate even after that. So make sure to get your the Ultimate Dali Souvenir and more during this special exhibit!
Content provided by Fred Wright. Photos courtesy of the Dali Museum