The aim of blog is to provide a hub that brings together research and creative output, both of which focus on complexity as an aesthetic property of music and visual art. The research focuses on the perception and measurement of complexity in audio and visual media, whilst the creative practice leads and supports the research through the production of experimental sound and visual art.
My name is Guy Birkin. My education includes a PhD and MA in fine art at Nottingham Trent University and BA(Hons.) in contemporary art practice at the University of Northumbria. I was employed in the laboratory at Mansfield Brewery until its closure in 2001, then worked as college science technician, specialising in biology and microbiology. This work provided valuable experience for my doctoral research, which used a scientific approach to study visual complexity in art, combining methods from experimental psychology and information theory to understand how the perception of complexity interacts with judgements of artistic quality (see the Research section). Musical experience includes piano, pipe organ, church bells, handbells, steel drums, guitar and bass. Current practice focuses on generative computer music based on data analysis, algorithmic composition, and digital synthesis. Findings and techniques developed in my research into visual complexity are now being used to explore complexity in terms of sound and music.
I am currently employed as Senior Research Executive at CFE, undertaking social research in the area of education and skills. My work specializes in qualifications and assessment in art and science subjects at secondary, further and higher education. Recent work includes a project on the A-level in Art & Design for the University of the Arts London, drafting new programmes of study for arts GCSEs on behalf of the Department for Education, and evaluating new qualifications for the Royal Schools of Drama. I also work on projects around student funding and widening participation in higher education for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and the Higher Education Funding Council for England.