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John Seth

Pathway Leader 4D
Central Saint Martins
Email address
Researcher Research
John  Seth


My art practice involves working across a range of media, including performance, video, photography, drawing, installation and writing. Alongside my individual practice and research I am also part of the collaborative project work-seth/tallentire with the artist Anne Tallentire, which began in 1993.

My current and ongoing research addresses questions of the 'subject' as appearance and disappearance, as being formed, deformed and reformed in the process of 'action' and in relation to the aleatoric, to chance and the indeterminate. The word action is here situated in the space of making something, of working (the moment of performance, the taking of a photograph, the process of writing or drawing). For instance, improvisational performance (e.g. in jazz) offers a way of thinking this moment of working in relation to the forming of the subject, the identity of the 'performer', and the object being performed. Both enter the space of action as process. As such, the artwork produced is an encounter with the ephemeral and temporality as a both a kind of object and a space of encounter: between still and moving image, drawing and performance, a space that partake of time and movement, but that is also continuous with or indexical of the lived-world. The theoretical ground of this practice is mapped through an engagement, a set of dialogues, with the seemingly different work of Robert Frank, John Cage, and the related experimental art practices of the 1960s and 70s. In particular, John Cage provides the focal point for my research. His use of chance procedures offers ways to rethink questions of process, action, expression, intentionality and ethics. In addition, ideas of work, expression, and theories of subjectivity and politics are developed for the research through a disparate range of the writings: Hannah Arendt, Gilles Deleuze & Felix Guattari, and Julia Kristeva amongst others.

Research Outputs

Art/Design item

Conference, Symposium or Workshop item



Current research students

  • Fagner Bibiano Alvez, Out of Sight: Investigating Perverse Desire Through Photographic Practice. (Lead supervisor)
  • Steven De Vleminck, Transmedia: A Place of Negotiation in Conditions of Hybridity and Change. (Lead supervisor)
  • Aviva Leeman, Reading the Material Text: Interactions between Art, Word, Object and Audience (Joint supervisor)