Welcome. This web site is part of a writing project consisting in sketching a body of thought in a situation whereby the course of this sketch is never determined in advance.


My name is Jean-Paul Martinon. I am a writer based in London. I am currently Reader in Visual Cultures and Philosophy in the Department of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths CollegeUniversity of London


After completing a master’s degree in International Law in Paris, I moved to London. After working as a barman for Break for the Border and barista for the Monmouth Coffee Co., I found myself, with no previous experience or training, curating exhibitions of contemporary art. In 1992, I co-founded with Peter Cross Rear Window, an independent arts trust that staged a series of exhibitions and conferences in temporary sites across London. I stopped curating exhibitions by the end of the millennium, embarked on a PhD and started working in academia. My interest in curating led to the creation with Irit Rogoff of the Curatorial / Knowledge PhD Programme and the editing of a new book on this topic, The Curatorial: A Philosophy of Curating (Bloomsbury, 2013).


Over the years, I developed a strong interest in philosophy. This led me to complete a first monograph, On Futurity / Malabou, Nancy & Derrida (Palgrave, 2007), which comprises a series of essays on the notion of futurity in contemporary continental philosophy. Fine tuning this interest in philosophy, I then wrote a short monograph on the relationship between masculinity and time, The End of Man (Punctum Books, 2013). I also developed a strong interest in African philosophy, especially the work of Valentin Y. Mudimbe and contemporary Rwandan thinkers. This interest led me to write After "Rwanda" (Rodopi, 2013), which focuses on the idea of peace after the Rwandan Genocide and, much later, to create a Research in African Philosophy Network with John Drabinski, Grant Farred and Pierre-Philippe Fraiture, amongst others. 


My latest monograph, entitled Curating as Ethics is currently under review for Minnesota University Press’s new series Untimely Interventions. This new book comprises a series of reflections on the ethical promise of curating. It attempts to circumnavigate the usual tropes put forward by exhibition theorists to demonstrate that curating can constitute an ethics.


I’m currently working on a new monograph on the topic of intuition inspired by the work of the greatest thinker of all times: Spinoza. Instead of providing yet another explanation for Spinoza’s many Definitions, Axioms, Propositions, Demonstrations, Corollaries, and Scholia, this new book will attempt to carefully follow the seventeenth century philosopher’s step-by-step guide to emend my own intellect through reason and scientific intuition.


My writing has often been described as “idiosyncratic” or as “defying easy categorization.” I tend to write in a style that isn’t strictly speaking “academic,” preferring to put forward a personal experience instead of a cold and detached analysis. The “I” thus tends to dominate over the “it.” Having said this, this personal experience remains nonetheless scholarly in as much as I take philosophy to be a scientific endeavour that requires quasi-mathematical rigour.


My texts either responds to specific commissions or follows my own intellectual trajectory. The former tends to take the shape of essays and comes across in the vast diversity of authors studied. This diversity is simply a curiosity to think against the grain, that is, against myself by exploring unfamiliar authors. The latter tends to take the shape of books and focuses on specific authors who are explored in great depths: Derrida, Levinas, Nancy, Mudimbe, Kagame, Heidegger, Spinoza.


Overall, I always write, for good or bad, to make sense of time: its advent, staging, gender, neglect, use, abuse, and its articulation in the field of ethics.


If you want to get in touch, please do so here. Thank you.


“‘There must be some way out of here,’ said the joker to the thief.  /  ‘There's too much confusion, I can't get no relief.  /  Businessmen, they drink my wine, plowmen dig my earth.  /  None of them along the line know what any of it is worth.‘  /  ‘No reason to get excited,’ the thief, he kindly spoke.  /  ‘There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke.  /  But you and I, we've been through that, and this is not our fate.  /  So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late.’" Bob Dylan - Jimmy Hendrix.

Last updated: March 2018

© To use or reproduce the materials on this site, please email me: j.martinon@gold.ac.uk. Thank you.