Author of several books, Felipe César Londoño is currently Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Design of Jorge Tadeo Lozano University, honorary editor of the journal Leonardo (The MIT Press), a contributing member of Hexagram Canada (Network for Research-Creation in Arts, Cultures and Technologies ) and director of the International Image Festival, an event specialising in digital creation and electronic arts that has been held since 1997.
An architect with a PhD in Multimedia Engineering from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, and researcher in the field of digital creation, creative industries, design, education and new technologies, he is also director of the DICOVI research group, member of the editorial board of Kepes journal, and coordinator of ClusterLab – Industrias Creativas del Eje Cafetero (Creative Industries of the Coffee Belt) and the Incubadora de Empresas Culturales (Cultural Enterprises Incubator).
As delegate of the Minister of Culture of Colombia, Felipe César Londoño is a member of Colombia’s National Council of Arts and Culture in Cinematography. Co-founder of the Visual Design programme at the University of Caldas and tenured professor of that institution, he was university rector from 2014 to 2018, Director of the Department of Visual Design, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, creator and Director of the Master’s and Doctorate programmes in Design and Creation, Director of the Online Graduate Degree in Media Arts, consultant to the United Nations’ Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean on issues related to Creative Industries, administrator and first manager of the Centro Cultural Universitario Rogelio Salmona de Manizales (Rogelio Salmona University Cultural Centre of Manizales)and the Centro de Ciencia Francisco José de Caldas (Francisco José de Caldas Science Centre), leading spaces in the social appropriation of science, technology and innovation through art and design.
Felipe César Londoño reminds us that scientists and artists are traditionally known for their passion for knowledge, innovation, discovery, for looking beyond what we observe from the vantage point of everyday life. He uses the recent series of articles in the journal Nature, which examines the scientific and artistic communities’ opinions and thoughts in relation to each other, as a reference point for this comparison.
According to our guest, many scientists, beyond the banal and widespread conception of art and artists as vectors for their experiences and discoveries, feel that art and science share common interests. Given this increasingly acknowledged reality, they are participating directly with the help of technology, which makes it possible to think about shared issues, such as the application of ‘algorithmic performativity’ and ‘artificial intelligence.’ The field of research is extraordinarily diverse and active, so much so that the growth of the international network of professionals in the arts, sciences and technologies has become a key element of the ‘industrial revolution 5.0.’
As a design specialist, Felipe César Londoño shows us that this discipline has an extraordinarily significant presence in the debates concerning the interactions between art and science, at least since the contributions of the Bauhaus, more than a hundred years ago by now, which synthesise the thinking of previous decades in a new way of conceiving the world, in search of the transformation of the discoveries of art and science into usable and tangible facts applicable to everyday life.
In his reasoning and in relation to the obvious deterioration of the environment, he adopts one of the fundamental ideas of Hungarian painter, designer and theorist György Kepes, founder of the MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies: design is key to reconciling human beings with their surroundings. He therefore sees human beings as part of a world inhabited by other beings that are not necessarily human. He is among the critics, thinkers, and designers who, beyond the utility function for the dominant economic systems, see design as the world’s way of thinking; a kind of design that brings together in one conceptual process the scientific abilities of discovering and developing, the artistic abilities of exploring and expressing, and the ability to create prototypes and devices oriented to the proposal of significant solutions as collaborative and coexisting perspectives among us, the different cultures and species that inhabit the planet Earth.
A kind of design, then, capable of transforming the world, provided it leaves behind the false solutions of consumption dynamics that lead us to, among other mistakes, the perverse use of the limited resources we have at our disposal. According to Felipe César Londoño, the triad of design, art and science provides us, from a technological and multidisciplinary perspective, with the ideal tools for exploring the complexities of a world that we could never encompass with isolated conceptual formulations.
Overcoming crises requires new solutions, writes Bonaventura Souza; and this is precisely what our guest recommends: from uncertainty, a distinct component of creative acts, in dialogue with the passion for exploration and knowledge that drives the development of art and science, routes not linked to the traditional processes of classical research emerge.
We must change the meaning of what we think of as knowledge. We will have to learn from the cultures we have relegated, such as pre-Columbian cultures, models of ways of seeing the world from a place of uncertainty and with respect for other living beings. There is no tension between research and creation. On the contrary: they complement each other. They do not exist in isolation and this should inform how we prepare our young people in terms of confronting uncertainty and questions about what will arise that we do not know. It should also inform the creation of mechanisms for open-mindedness, in order to prepare humanity to understand and embrace the complexity of the issues underlying the threats that jeopardise our planet.