Support Hyperallergic’s independent arts journalism.
Anyone who has had the opportunity to contemplate Michelangelo’s “David” in person cannot help but think, “Huh, that is a small penis” — but importantly, also to wonder whether or not that guy would hold his own on the dance floor. Wonder no longer, thanks to sharp-eyed Twitter user Ryan Bauman. Bauman spotted the buried lede in “Few-shot Video-to-Video Synthesis” featuring the work of Ting-Chun Wang, Ming-Yu Liu, Andrew Tao, Guilin Liu, Jan Kautz, and Bryan Catanzaro of the NVIDIA Corporation, which used David as an example of how statuary could be digitally tethered to mimic the movements of human model.
— Ryan Baumann (@ryanfb) October 28, 2019
After a minute or so of explanatory background, the video cuts to the money shot: digital Davids mimicking some saucy dance moves. It’s the kind of life-affirming chicanery that almost makes you forget that deep fake technology is quietly undermining yet another medium in our ever-quickening descent into informational relativism. That’s right, David, dance like no one’s watching, even though literally everyone is. Shake what your maker gave you, even though it’s not that much in certain departments. Not since the days of Hampsterdance has the internet produced such a digital dance sensation!
Now I know this technology is new, but I’m seeing a lot of potential applications here. Let’s get Dancing David into the zeitgeist, because I cannot wait for the first police procedural to involve security footage that’s been tampered to show Digital David executing an art theft. I want Dancing David to show up on people’s Ring doorbell cams. I demand these things with no clear understanding of how any technology works! I demand MORE digital art dancers! Mona Lisa Macarena! Venus de Milo doing Da’ Dip (the hands aren’t that important)! Giacometti’s “Walking Man 1” doing the Running Man! Pokemon Go was all the rage in museums back in 2016; now it’s time for the museums to strike back! Art Walkers take to the streets! Winter is coming! Somebody put some pants on David and lets hit the dance floor.