05 Innovation


Digital Arts: R&D&I in the Creative Industries

Roc Parés

In today’s world, beyond the divisions between scientific, technical, humanist and artistic knowledge, creativity has become a value in and of itself. Human knowledge has increased and become interconnected through information and communication technologies. Is the same true for creativity?

In his article “Creativity at the Interface” (Science, 13 April 2012: 131.), Bruce Alberts, the editor-in-chief of the prestigious journal Science declared that “doing good science is a highly creative endeavour, much like producing a piece of art”. This comparison between art and science, as a means of understanding based on creativity, leads us to reflect on the concept of transdisciplinarity: while contemporary science claims creativity – traditionally associated with artistic activities – for its own, art is highlighting its own role as a driver of research, development and innovation (R&D&I), values that are traditionally associated with the scientific world. We do not wish to instigate an epistemological debate here; we shall simply add that, from the perspective of digital creation, both claims are not only complementary, but enormously productive. It is no accident that one of the academic journals focusing on digital creation, and whose field of study is the intersection of art, science and technology, is called Leonardo (published by MIT Press since 1968) in honour of the most creative and innovative man of the Renaissance era.

Our civilization is unceasingly creating all kinds of mobile devices, computers and networks that not only make calculations and information management easier for us, but also invite us to create and share our visions, advanced musical concepts, non-linear narratives, global cooperation networks, new spaces for gameplay and innovative forms of expression. The arts, which are so deeply rooted in the Mediterranean region, have such a strong presence in our country and are so emblematic of our city, find in the universities of the 21st century a wholly unprecedented culture of interdisciplinary research and experimentation. And from the universities, the knowledge that generates digital creation percolates into society in the form of innovations in art, culture and entertainment. However, beyond this type of art, which rapidly integrates into the consumer habits of the new digital generations, there is another type; one which is developed in more specialized environments and enjoys increasingly stronger support from public funding, as is the case with the new H2020. We are referring to the product of art as a search: that which is validated through competitive projects in the form of prototypes and demonstrators; that which contributes to the Arts Tracks of the international conferences on Human-Computer Interaction; and that which is beginning to be incorporated into contemporary art collections in museums around the world.

At UPF’s Communication Campus in Poblenou, which (among other things) serves as a meeting place for the Department of Communication, the Department of Information and Communication Technologies and the Phonos Foundation, our privileged position offers us the opportunity to become an international benchmark for digital creation. As the heirs of a long and rich Mediterranean tradition, and from the standpoint of social and environmental responsibility, we wish to contribute to the consolidation of a European Higher Education Area where creativity is able to perform the key role that rightly belongs to it in the new knowledge economy.

Roc Parés i Burguès is an artist and researcher in interactive communication with the DigiDoc group. He has a doctorate in Audiovisual Communication from UPF (2001) and a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from UB (1992). He is also the co-director of UPF-IDEC’s Master in Digital Arts.

Roc Parés

Roc Parés

Co-Head of the University Master in Digital Arts, UPF-IDEC


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