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Meet Johnny Golding, Professor of Philosophy & Fine Art

Professor Johnny Golding is a philosopher-poet. Known for her philosophy enactments, installations and soundscape exhibitions, she is Professor of Philosophy & Fine Art, and Senior Tutor: Research in the School of Arts & Humanities at the RCA. All of her work, she explained, ‘is driven by curiosity, experimentation and the right to have freedom of speech.’ 

Johnny’s work situates post-Newtonian physics, artificial intelligences, play and the logics of sense as ‘radical matter’ – an arts-led, onto-epistemological encounter with what she names ‘the wild sciences’. Re-situating the multiversal as a dimensional and superpositional encounter, Golding’s methodological move pays attention to distributed intelligence, undecidability, morphogenesis, skin-flesh-erotic corporealities. For her, contemporary philosophy is the new Gay Science – nothing more nor less than ‘an inhabited way of understanding the world.’

At the RCA Johnny leads the postgraduate research group Entanglement and the MA School group Radical Matter. Her research cannot be separated from her teaching. She sums up this approach as ‘giving people a sense of how to be kind and intelligent. In fact my view is that the more intelligent one is, the more one is able to go in the world without putting people down, and I like to share that with people. I get a lot of energy, knowledge and logic systems from my students. If it’s not a two way street, you’re doing something wrong.’

Johnny carried out postgraduate studies (PhD) at the Universities of Toronto and Cambridge. She has taught and researched in several art schools, including as Director of the Centre for Fine Art Research, Birmingham City University; Director, Institute for the Converging Arts & Sciences; Professor of Philosophy in the Visual Arts & Communication Technologies, the University of Greenwich, London; Teaching Fellow at The Slade School of Fine Art; and Head of the Theory Department / Lead Researcher, Experimental Research in Fine Art, Design & Theory, The Jan Van Eyck Academie, Maastricht. For her, ‘the great thing about art, and art school is that it refuses to be contained.’

Entanglement event, 2020
SoAH Research presents Entanglement : Just Gaming

Johnny’s latest onto-epistemic installation, Entanglement: Just Gaming – in 7 part harmony (July 2020) with creative producers/editors: George Rae, Anna Nazo, Moira Salt, and the PhD Entanglement Research Lab, was a 4.5 hour augmented reality mixed media platform rolled out via TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, SoundCloud, Vimeo, and across the Zoomiverse. Johnny’s latest publication, Data Loam: Sometimes Hard, Usually Soft: The Future of Knowledge Systems (de Gruyter) with Reinhart and Paganelli is due to be released in October 2020.

Summarising her practice, Johnny said: ‘I am very political and I’m very engaged with making the world a better place. That takes work, that takes rigour, it takes commitment and dedication. I expect that out of the students, and they expect it out of me.’ 

Discover more about Johnny’s work here. Johnny’s latest works include: 'The Photograph of Thought', in D Rubinstein, Fragmentation of the Image in the Digital Age (Routledge: 2019); Entanglement: The Opera: Artificial Intelligence, Hive Time, White Cheese: homage to Kurt Weill’s anti-fascist opera (Collaborative Performance, RCA, London: 2019); ‘Friendship,’ in The Edinburgh Companion to Animal Studies (EUP: 2018);  ‘Of The Thick and the Raw: Cannibalising the 21st Century,’ (OAR, Oxford: 2018). Other texts and poetic-philosophic installations most recently exhibited at the Venice Biennale, Vienna, Bogotá and Berlin.