The Centre for Architecture and Visual Arts, School of ArchitectureSchool of the Arts (CAVA), University of Liverpool and the Culture of Cities Centre are pleased to announce the 3rd Annual Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Culture of Cities (IASCC).

How can art and advanced theory make reference to the libidinal circuit of the city, its sensuality, desire, hallucinations and its rationality, fears and transgressions? We invite papers and presentations that deal with innovation and its tensions between progress and recalcitrance, of imaginary conceptions of time, space, fluidity and inertia. The aim of this conference is to open up the urban circuits of desire and to analyze the allegiances and fractures of urban life and the special role that art and the artist plays in rendering and intervening in this system.

Social change in cities has affective consequences that invariably need to be understood and traced as systems of desire. To speak of the libidinal circuits of the urban is to begin to identify bodies and circulatory flows as inflections and indicators of the spirit of inhabitants embodied within the systems, invisible networks and visible regimes of the city. By taking into account the conscious and unconscious ways in which pathways are produced, maintained and possibly disrupted, libidinal circuits include everything from social policy and engineering, to the initiatives and dreams of art and creative endeavors, to sex, food, religion, politics, fashion, advertising, business and philosophy.

The conference welcomes paper presentations and art installations that examine case studies examining the ways social and cultural changes are produced and the ways progress circulates through and against tangible material effects. Especially welcome is a focus upon artistic activities and works designed to create both scenes of innovation and opportunities for reflecting on the trajectories through which urban subjectivities are enlivened, and made to traverse its circuitous paths.

Possible topics include:

  • Psychic and emotional energies of city organisms
  • Secret Networks and algorithms
  • The corporeal language of performance-based work, installations or happenings
  • Libidinal processes and forms of repression represented in film, literature, theatre and the visual arts
  • Urban Aesthetic regimes and the imaginary
  • Relations of the Libidinal Economy
  • Exchange, excess and enjoyment
  • Digital participation, collusions and the “uber” subject
  • Catastrophe, crisis and split connections
  • Recharging new usages
  • Unconscious Inscriptions/gridlock
  • Relational possibilities/stoppages
  • Artistic capacities/capabilities
  • Digressions/Detours
  • Interdisciplinary methodologies and practices
  • New Technologies and/or the Urban Sensorium