Research Philosophy

My research activity takes two forms: that which I do in the field of art practice and that which I do in collaboration with engineers. These are different areas of research which are governed by different creative philosophies, yet I see myself as an all-round artist- researcher engaged in examining the exchange between these two disciplines.

Research as an artist
       I produce art work under two pseudonyms: as Jack Youngblood and as part of Grieve Perspective (a collective wherein my identity is obscured). In the later I work collaboratively with Singaporean artists and art historians. Jack Youngblood is currently 'mothballed', though he still exhibits occasionally. Recently I have started producing work as myself (Martin Constable). This was featured is a group show at Sundaram Tagore gallery, which was curated by June Yap.

       As a visual artist I have a particular interest in the topic of death, loss and sickness. I believe that these outlier aspects of the human condition map through extremes the territory of our lives. I live in Singapore, a country I now regard as my home, and much of my work addresses how these topics are manifest in the many traditions and histories of Singapore and South East Asia. The media I work in is mainly digital, with an emphasis on the digitally manipulated image (e.g. visual effects and the so called ‘Photoshopped’image).

       More details of my output as an artist can be found at GrieveThink. This is the website of Grieve Perspective.

Research in Collaboration with engineers
       My research collaborations with engineers addresses two topics. The first is computational aesthetics, which is the study of how aspects of aesthetic practice within art may be computationally defined. The second is interface design. In both these domains I am engaged with attempting to computationally quantify that which is commonly understood to be unquantifiable. In the case of computational aesthetics, it is the aesthetic qualities of a painting. In the case of interface design it is human-to-human exchange. I aim for the output of these collaborations to be primarily of engineering interest, as opposed to serving the needs of myself as an artist.

      Our research in computational aesthetics showed that much of the aesthetic properties of a painting are manifest in a variance of contrast along its depth planes. In the near future cameras will be able to capture effective depth information. Given this, a new generation of image improvement algorithms can be imaged using which the aesthetic properties of a painting may be transferred to a photograph. This is a young research area that I believe has a huge amount of potential.

      In my research there is significant exchange between the two disciplines: art and engineering. For the most part this exchange is one-way: with my knowledge of art having a significant impact upon my work with engineers, but my forays into engineering having little impact upon my art. However, the manner in which I teach art has been significantly affected by my engineering collaborations. I now use much of the precise language familiar to engineering and encourage in my students a research methodology that borrows heavily from the sciences. As well as changing the way in which I teach, several items of published research output reflect this interest.

       Select items published in collaboration with engineers can be found here.