Call for Papers Informa Issue 14: “Guilty Pleasures: Spaces, Places, and Routines”

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Where uncertainty, division, separation, havoc, and disease befall communities worldwide, many of us have resorted to embracing ways to bring solace, gratification, indulgence, and joy into the spaces we inhabit. Rather than setting out to work on an issue that directly and explicitly discusses the problems of our times as the focus, our 14th Issue sets out to critically examine the spaces, places, and routines that give us pleasure because of—and despite—the chaos. Reminded of Bernard Tschumi’s words in “The Pleasure of Architecture”, where he posits that “the ancient idea of pleasure still seems sacrilegious to contemporary architectural theory”, this issue of informa aims to study pleasure as a tool with agency.

What is there to be said about pleasure, through the lens of architectural discourse? In the context of a global pandemic, quarantine, and lockdown, what creative strategies for placemaking have we imagined? How does the relationship between public and private get reconfigured, when the architectural and urban typologies meant to intentionally exude pleasure to users—theaters, plazas, beach clubs, gyms, churches, amusement parks, restaurants, etc—become high-risk sites for contagion? What unexpected places do we “escape” to, regardless of an individual’s economic resources? How has the very idea of home been challenged to meet our current needs? When our bodies are both what is at danger, as well as what endangers others, how have we reimagined intimacy and the spaces where it unfolds?

This issue, themed ‘Guilty Pleasures’, is about questioning and unpacking the role of pleasure in the places we inhabit, as well as any aspect of shame—social or individual—associated with it. We want to explore these at different scales, from the personal to the collective, from private to public spheres, from the individual to the planetary. We are interested in pleasure as performed and embodied, as well as spatial, material, and aesthetic. Through incorporating guilt and pleasure, not just as the objects of study, but also as design processes, as relational artifacts, research methods, modes of escaping, agents for individual survival, and even ecological inquiry, Issue 14 seeks to celebrate, critique, and rethink the relationship between our bodies and our built and natural environments.

We are seeking research papers, short essays, photo essays, book reviews, and architectural projects that are heavily informed, contested, and driven by pleasure and its relation to spaces. Likewise, we are interested in discussing pleasure alongside pain, distress, and desolation. We particularly welcome interdisciplinary crossings between the fields of architecture, queer theory, media studies, urban studies, environmental studies, decolonial studies, and fine art. Notably, we are committed to foregrounding and publishing work about and by minorities, especially BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) women, LGBTQ+ folk, and Latin Americans; we highly encourage their submissions.