Great Russian avant-garde artist comes to life in deepfake masterclass video – RT World News



RT Creative Lab has recreated the legend of Russian avant-garde and modern photography Alexander Rodchenko in a deepfake video masterclass series dedicated to the centenary of Vkhutemas and the eve of his 130th birthday.

Rodchenko.LIVE is a series of deepfake videos in which the artist visionary talks about the legacy of the Russian art and design school Vkhutemas (High Art and Technological Studio) – the Soviet equivalent of the German Bauhaus. Rodchenko taught construction and metalworking at Vkhutemas, leading design ideas in Russia.



Vkhutemas was established soon after the Russian Revolution in 1917, after which the monarchy was abolished. It was envisioned as an institution that would prepare artists and craftsmen with the aim of meeting the state’s goals for efficiency and production. But its legacy was short-lived – it was closed permanently in 1930 and its professors were purged.

Rodchenko.LIVE will have four videos, which will be released in 2021-2022. In the first episode, ‘Experiments for the Future’, Rodchenko gives an introductory talk about his life and the creation of a new type of craftsman in Vakhutemas.



“Rodchenko. The Live Project is a meeting point of many types of arts – AI techniques, theatrical performances, design animation, cinematography, and musical design. In fact, we’ve got a kind of digital educational one-man show. I think so that for the first time in history deepfake and machine learning techniques were successfully applied to create a complete video series with a lecture by a real historical figure,” says Kirill Karnovich-Walua, creative director of RT Creative Lab.



The project was developed in collaboration with RT’s creative development department, director Alexander Scriabin and Phygitalism Company-Developer of Visual Solutions based on Artificial Intelligence, Augmented and Virtual Reality.

Rodchenko was recreated in the video using the deepfake algorithm – a technique for synthesizing an image with artificial intelligence. The project is unique because only several historical photographs were used.

“Our task with Rodchenko was to create several deepfake videos with a total duration of about 40 minutes and 4K resolution, only a few photos fit for this purpose. In comparison, the Dali Lives project used more than 6,000 images , which were obtained from selected videos with Salvador Dali.” says Denis Leonov, project manager of Phygitalism.

The scripts for Rodchenko.LIVE are based on the avant-garde artist’s diaries, memoirs, personal letters, curriculum and art. Some of the material for the project was donated by Rodchenko’s grandson, Alexander Lavrentiev, a scholar and professor at the Stroganov Academy.

“Indeed we had no archival film fragments or a significant number of photographic documents, we recreated the artist’s image – as we imagined him after reading archives, memoirs, interviews with relatives and descendants,” says Alexander Scriabin, director of Rodchenko. live project.

“When casting actors for the role of Rodchenko, we not only aimed to find the most physically similar person (a basic requirement for deepfakes), we were also looking for academic representations and some plasticity that the actors would have. will complement the representation and narration of, and as a result eliminate its artificiality in the frame. Original dress, shoes and other accessories that were created on the basis of historical photographs, as well as such small details (hats, pipes, cups Holder) significantly complemented his image. ”

The video series is part of a larger project called Vakhutemas.Academy which aims to revive the legacy of the visionary art school using contemporary media formats. The website will be available in English soon.

RT Creative Lab is an Emmy-nominated digital in-house team within the RT international news network.

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