Dr Paul Jeff
Dr Paul Jeff BA (Hons), PhD, Senior Fellow, HEA
Director of Research Degrees, Faculty of Art & Design.
Pathway Leader, MA Photography – Contemporary Dialogues
Tel: 01792 481285
Responsible for Research Degrees and the admin of, for Swansea College of Art, reporting to the University Research Degrees Committee.
Pathway Leader for MA Photography
Responsible for theoretical and experimental perspectives across all levels of Photography provision from level 4 to PhD.
Director of the IPCRES research centre, covering experimental time-based art practices in tandem with pedagogy innovation.
After gaining a degree in Photographic Practices from Derby in 1987 I worked as an experimental art practitioner developing a praxis of photography and performance. Klanger & Boink (1988-2001 with Elizabeth McDonough) was highly innovative and ground breaking for its time, playfully blurring boundaries between philosophical enquiry, high art and commercial art, whilst creatively playing with the construction of identity in the persona of the two partners. This unique blend brought us international recognition and the accolade in 1992 of being nominated for the Fox Talbot award for European Photography, as well as being featured on American TV and published widely from Germany to Japan.
The anarchic and subversive performance vehicle Good Cop Bad Cop (1996-2006) gave me a radical platform to explore the margins of experimental intellectual activity in terms of performance and the visual arts. Co-Founder with Brith Gof members, Richard Huw Morgan and John Rowley (Forced Entertainment). Work over many years in the orbit of seminal internationally recognised Welsh experimental theatre companies Brith Gof and subsequently Pearson/Brookes allowed me to practise and hone my experimental credentials in an environment of accomplished innovation and expertise. I worked both within a collaborative capacity and as an ensemble cast member in many productions, often being asked to develop my own contribution. This experimental work was built upon with the work done by the Paul+A (2000-2009) construction on the interface of photography and performance that ultimately led to the insights of my PhD. Paul+A was a collaborative working structure with myself and invited collaborators on a project basis. The work was practice as research in an attempt to define a practice and theory of Performed Photography. Another form of mobile and mutable photography has been developed via the vehicle of the International Project Centre for Research into Events and Situations (IPCRES), the research centre I initiated in 2009 to carry out further investigation into the concept of event, and the related notion of situation-specific practice. Part of this work is related to performed photography in so far as the experimental practices consist of designed events that in one way or another have the concept of their record implicated internally into the event itself, the record therefore being immanent to the event and not transcendent in its relations.
One of the original reasons for the invention of the IPCRES research centre was to enable me to design and execute extra-curricula teaching projects in which all students could take part. This was entirely on my own initiative and allowed me to go beyond course boundaries and eventually Faculty boundaries, drawing on experimental art/photographic practices to engage students of many disciplines in thought-provoking learning and teaching experiences. Another recent contribution made through the vehicle of IPCRES is one relating to the field of Fine Art and its intersection with Deleuze studies and wider continental thought. The ‘affective composition’ or ‘performative encounter’ is a contemporary mode of expressive practice designed to give the participator an accumulation of affective experience. An enigmatic event that can bring the participant to thought regarding a specific field of knowledge or experience via their sensibilities and conscious awareness rather than the rationale of linguistic meaning. An affective composition is neither a pictorial composition nor a material composition, but largely immaterial and premised on the concept of performing ideas or concepts. The term performative encounter is not my own but is a largely radical political concept that I have reoriented to aesthetic and philosophical ends. As such it impacts on fine art practice by originating multi-dimensional events with the express intention of disrupting the traditional categories of art. They are designed in order to produce new ways to encounter the world and its conventions.
I started my teaching career in 1996 and most of it is based on my professional practice, much of which overlaps in time-scale. I make a point of allowing my professional work and my teaching practice including academic research to be as co-dependent as I can make it.
Academic interests include progressive/experimental pedagogies in Art & Design, including performative lectures and event-based encounters, that could be grouped under the heading of ‘Indirect Pedagogy’ (Saeverot). A lot of my academic work concerns the concept of ‘connectives’ and radical creativity that aids the application of inter and trans-disciplinarity.
Medium specific Academic interests include predominantly photographic practices and innovative and experimental art practices such as ‘performed photography’, ‘performative encounters’ and event and situation led practices designed to generate new expressions of photography that move away from mainstream practices and emerge from new foundations. These include radical seriality, theoretical anti-representational methodologies such as difference and repetition put into practice, and experiments in Francois Laruelle’s science-fictive as new perspectives in documentary paradigms. The aim being to invent new photographies that are based on the temporal event rather than a spatialized pictorialism. Other interests include Deleuze studies, Walter Benjamin, GW Leibniz and Johannes Vermeer. An accompanying interest is ‘ The conversion of Essence into Seriality’ explored through IPCRES and our work into the contemporary obsession with ‘information’.
- Deleuze Studies and contemporary continental philosophy.
- Performed Photography and mobile and mutable forms of art.
- Experimental performative art practices and arts pedagogy.
- Anti-representational photographic paradigms.
- The Performative Encounter.
- Event and Situation.
- The Situationist International
- GW Leibniz
- Jan Vermeer.
- Walter Benjamin
Most of my professional practice is generated through the IPCRES centre (International Project Centre for Research into Events and Situations) and comes from a mutable interface between experimental art practice (often photographic in intent) performance and continental philosophy. I theorised (PhD) and produced practical work in a new photographic genre, ‘performed photography’ developing an innovative and paradigm shifting practice in time-based photography premised largely on the concepts of leading continental philosopher, Gilles Deleuze. As a practice Performed Photography (in my own work) is driven via a model of serial photography that deals with an event in a broadly anti-representational sense, premised as it is on a practical system of difference and repetition. Lately my emphasis has been on the development of the ‘performative encounter’ generating a practice of photography that could be said to be influenced by the theories of Francois Laruelle. These practices largely reject the pictorial representational tradition and disrupt the expected norms of photographic practice. I have published widely and internationally via all the creative vehicles that I have invented or worked with (Klanger & Boink – Brith Gof – Good Cop Bad Cop – Pearson/Brookes – Paul+A – IPCRES). In 2010 my work appeared in two internationally published books:
Bright, S. 2010 Auto Focus: Self-Portraiture in Contemporary Photography, pp: 192-5 (183), London, Thames & Hudson. ISBN 978-0-500-54389-4
Pearson, M. 2010 Site-Specific Performance, pp: 183-6 (also 40-1, 77,96,162), London, Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 0230576710
Arbitrary highlighted achievements include having work in the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery, being chosen to represent British contemporary portraiture In Australia (2006), performing a cultural intervention at the Copenhagen Business School (2011) and being nominated as one of the 40 most interesting photographers in Europe (Fox Talbot Award, 1992).
Full research profile
My expertise lies in my academic interest areas as detailed above, but also in pioneering experimental arts practices and experimental arts pedagogy practices, such as performative lectures and aspects of ‘indirect pedagogy’. A particular emphasis is put on future practices and collaborative contexts for photography as a form of expression. I also have a keen interest in exploring the current ‘post-medium condition’ both in practice and in pedagogy. Over-arching areas of expertise can be summed up under ‘constructed situations’, performative practices in the visual arts and event theory as a form of performing philosophy.
I was on the board of Governance at Ffotogallery Wales (the national photography gallery of Wales) from 2004 to 2012, contributing to the general culture of photographic gallery practice in Wales.
Highlights, see full cv under my Research Profile
Jeff, P. and McDonough, E. 2004. The Art of Veneer. In: ‘Body-construct’ - Live Art Through the Lens, Espaco Anexo gallery, Sao Paulo, Brazil. Group Show. (K&B)
Jeff, P. Morgan, RH. and Rowley, J. 2005. UPS: Untitled plus Support. In: the proceedings of Experimentica International Performance Festival, Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff. 6 hour devised performance. (GCBC)
Jeff, P. and Pearson, M. 2005. TRAWS, In: Performance Studies International 11: ‘Becoming Uncomfortable’. Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, USA. Joint paper.
Jeff, P. 2005. Life is Perfect. In: Source, Issue 44, pp. 10-19. Photography periodical, Belfast. (Paul+A)
Jeff, P. 2006. More Beautiful Than God. In: 1+1=3. Contemporary British Portraiture, Fotofreo Photography Festival, Fremantle, Australia. Selected group exhibition, curated by Susan Bright. (Paul+A)
Jeff, P. 2006. Performed Photography: The Map is not the Terrain. In: Landscape Fictions, Plymouth University. Symposium Paper.
Jeff, P. 2007. More Beautiful Than God. In: 1+1=3. Contemporary British Portraiture, Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney, Australia. Selected group exhibition, curated by Susan Bright. (Paul+A)
Jeff, P. Sanchez, and M. Contini, E. 2007. I Watched Her Until She Disappeared. Curfew Tower, Cushendall, N.Ireland. 7 day durational work in protest at the abductions and murders of young Mexican women in Juarez, Mexico. Funded by the Arts Council of Wales and ‘In You We Trust’. (Paul+A)
Jeff, P. 2007. Performed Photography: A Practice. In: Unfolding the Cards: Art, Aesthetics and Education. The Institute for Educational Research, University of Oslo, Norway. Symposium paper + projections. (Paul+A)
Jeff, P. and Sanchez, M. 2008. I Watched Her until She Disappeared. University of Chihuahua, Mexico. Installation/exhibition of the originating work. (Paul+A).
Jeff, P. et al, 2009, Conversion of Essence into Series. Performative visual arts project with SMU art and design students. 18 thetic events staged over 6 months based on Vermeer’s painting The Girl with the Pearl Earring. Swansea, Amsterdam, The Hague. (IPCRES)
Jeff, P. and Jenkins, L. 2010, The Conversion of Essence into Series: A Dance of Repetition from Vermeer to Leibniz. In: Proceedings of the 3rd International Deleuze Studies Conference, Amsterdam: Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis. Joint ‘performed’ Paper. (IPCRES)
Jeff, P. 2010. Photography and Participation. The Photographer’s Gallery, Soho, London. Public Talk. (Paul+A)
Jeff, P. and Jenkins, L. 2011. Protest Against Progress. In: Proceedings of the 4th International Deleuze Studies Conference, Copenhagen Business School. Joint Paper/special event. (IPCRES)
Jeff, P. and Jenkins, L. 2011. Paul Jeff vs Moon Wiring Club. University of Chester. Public event, video, sound, installation, screenings. (Paul+A/IPCRES)
Jeff, P. and Jenkins, L. 2012, IPCRES Reading Ensemble. In: Proceedings of BOOK LIVE! International Book Symposium, London South Bank University. Participatory performative encounter. (IPCRES)
Jeff, P. and Jenkins, L. 2012, The Conversion of Essence into Series. In: Performance Research journal: (issue 17.5) ‘On Duration’ Ed. by Prof Ed Scheer, Univ. of New South Wales, Australia. Creative paper. (IPCRES)
Jeff, P. and Jenkins, L. 2013. IPCRES Reading Ensemble. In: The Book is Alive! Eds. Waeckerle, E. and Sawdon Smith, R. Published by RGAP, Manchester. pp. 168-171, 197. creative paper.
University of the Arts, London, 2003-2008
University of Chester, 2006-2010
University of Creative Arts, Maidstone 2009-13
London South Bank University, 2010-15
University of Northampton, 2013-
External Validator – MA Photography, University of Newport, 2002
External Validator – MA Fine Art, Coventry University, 2005
Faculty partnership coordinator/moderator for the Hereford Masters in Art & Design, 2013-
External Panel member, Subject Periodic Review (Art, Design & Technology) University of Derby, 2014.
Founder Member – TRAWS Inter-University Research Group into Performance in Wales, 2003-8.