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AI brings Van Gogh back as chatbot

Updated: 2023-10-03 08:29 ( China Daily )
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A Yoga enthusiast (C) poses for a photo before a Brew-Yoga event amidst an immersive art exhibition of renowned Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh, titled "Van Gogh Alive" in Bangkok on September 2, 2023. [Photo/Agencies]

PARIS - AI Vincent Van Gogh is patient, but unimpressed by yet another question about his chopped-off ear.

"I apologize for any confusion, but it seems you are mistaken," said the great painter's avatar, in the sort of testy tone familiar to anyone who has toyed with AI language models.

"I only cut off a small part of my ear lobe," he insisted, though there are multiple accounts of how the artist mutilated his ear.

The artificial intelligence Van Gogh appears on a video screen at the end of a blockbuster exhibition at the Musee d'Orsay in Paris. The exhibition, running until February, is dedicated to the final weeks of his life in Auvers-sur-Oise village.

In 1890, Van Gogh shot himself with a rusty pistol at the age of 37. It took him two days to die.

But AI Vincent is surprisingly well-versed in 21st century therapy speak.

"While I did face mental health struggles, my move to Auvers-sur-Oise was not motivated by a desire to end my life," he said.

As the paintings at the Orsay exhibition made clear, his final weeks were extraordinarily prolific, full of masterpieces including The Church at Auvers, Wheatfield with Crows and his very last, Tree Roots.

All the more surprising is that this period has never been given a dedicated showcase, said Christophe Leribault, president of Musee d'Orsay.

Among the highlights is a room dedicated to his "double-square" panoramas, a technical revolution in which he used very long and thin canvases, prefiguring the widescreen landscapes of cinema.

It is perhaps fitting, then, that the show ends with modern technologies, which have become increasingly common as exhibitions try to pull in the younger audience.

As well as the Van Gogh chatbot, visitors can also don a virtual reality headset to enter the kitchen of Dr Gachet, where Van Gogh spent time in his final weeks, take a surreal trip around an enormous version of his paint palette and plunge into the tree roots of his final painting.

The state-of-the-art helmet can track the hands of users, allowing them to pick up items in the virtual world.

Agencies Via Xinhua

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