We live in an age saturated with images. Video screens which loop multimillion dollar ads while we sit in the back of taxis. Teenagers scavenging through public parks in search of Pokemon. Technology —once thought of as a means through which individuals would increase their knowledge of their local environments—has, far from allowing us to commune with reality, fostered whole new worlds, equipped with their own social mores and systems of symbols.
What can it mean, then — today — to speak of “reality”? What was defined as reality in the past — our physical and social acknowledging of the things around us—has today receded in importance. This process of dephysicalization, which began with language, has become radicalized in the age of the iPhone. Forced to adapt, theory must interrogate this swarm of fantasies without resorting to knee-jerk dismissal—moving, in effect, from Saussure to the app store.
The Neurotic Turn to address the question: what can ‘neurosis’ tell us about our current social impasse?
Charles Johns studied Fine Art at Goldsmith’s College and progressed to do a Masters in Contemporary Art Theory under Professor Simon O’Sullivan, submitting his final thesis on the resurgence of nihilism in contemporary philosophical discourse.
Charles then went on to join The Collective arts committee in Lincoln (sponsored by Arts Council UK) and coordinated several events, including an exhibition curated by Tom Morton (Frieze magazine), which involved works by Sarah Lucas and Anthony Caro.
Charles has just finished a year working at the University of Lincoln within the Art & Design department, and is a current member of the Lincoln Philosophy Forum assisting in research matters specialising in continental philosophy and various forms of nihilism (metaphysical, epistemological, literary and political).
He has presented and published many articles on aesthetics and Continental philosophy, including work for Ephemera (Moscow), Goldsmiths College (London), The Collection (Lincoln), University of Duisburg-Essen (Germany), Camberwell College (London) and The National Centre for Contemporary Arts (Moscow). Charlie also has an ongoing blog entitled Mobilising Nihilism which you can follow at http://cwjohns.wordpress.com.
Johns’ debut book, Incompatible Ballerina and Other Essays, published by John Hunt Publishing, has been heralded as “ground-breaking”, “an intensification of thinking” and “informed with rare philosophical intelligence and insight”.
The Neurotic Turn will be published in December 2017. Pre-orders will be available soon.
Paperback ISBN: 9781910924655 ($14.95 US // $15.95 CAN)
eBook ISBN: 9781910924662 ($8.99 US & CAN)