Love is a mess. Defined subjectively at every moment, changing from individual to individual and from culture to culture, it glows through its ambiguity and its strength. Even though love has never been fully ignored, its ambiguous nature led, historically, to its consideration for academic inquiry as either too elusive or too emotional for social scientist to take it seriously — a disinclination that does not commonly find its way in the study of other intangible topics such as fear. While these reluctances still characterise the situation, a transformative shift is underway and has now affected most of the social and natural sciences. Identified as the affective turn by sociologist Patricia Clough in 2007, it outlines the growing and novel enthusiasm given to emotions in the field of social sciences from the end of the 1990s onwards. What was then being avoided, shattered, censored or ridiculed on the grounds of their inclusion of emotion — such as love — is now progressively finding its way towards acceptance as valid academic material. Although most fields of studies have started to deepen their understanding of the notion and began to consider it as relevant study matter, most notoriously in the field of politics, sociology and psychology, it is its near absence, in the field of architecture and urban studies, that is the motive behind the current project. How could a concept, emerging in academic branches so tightly linked to spatial practices, be still considered anecdotal in the discipline after decades of developments? A notion that has been described as the stage of explicitly modern issues and as a radical and generative force within other branches of inquiry. It occurs now to be pertinent to call for its consideration within architecture and urban studies. Why should architecture and urban studies continue to leave aside a notion with such apparently salient relevance? It seems indeed preposterous that the sphere of spatial practices hasn’t yet fully embraced a blossoming academic subject that is being described by a growing number of thinkers as (1) a movement, inherently creative, intrinsically curious (2) fundamentally relational, a translating intersubjective agent, a powerful factor in the emancipation of our singularities and (3) a transformative force, an imminent political motor for civic life, help to inform alternate social imaginaries. Triggered by the blatant indifference towards a concept loaded with resonances for the field of spatial studies, this project will attempt to expand on current research tendencies on the subject and seek to portray love as a valid and potent ontology for the field of urban studies and architectural production. Considering love in its affinity with space is the process of making room for the construction of an imagination built upon its relationship with others: a cathartic imagery thoughtful of our enmeshed realities. Love, through analogy, arises here as a potential space in between our singularities, a means for shaping potentiality. In the realm of urban studies, considering love opens not only the relationship that we maintain towards potential spaces but grounds these imagined spaces in their most relational dimension. Thinking more loving worlds means thinking more playfully means thinking more open worlds. Love makes the impossible possible by setting up the process for prospective worlds to come into being.

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[design thesis]

"Only through the experimental and ambiguous uncovering process of a spatiality of love, that responds to the shift we want to see happen in our social relations, will we be able to support the blossoming of the transformation of that world we want to live in."

[Pilot Thesis]

"The real counter-projecting measures of the fragmenting, isolating and alienating nature of modernity are whether or not the city fosters, generates and provides grounds for the fortuitous development of situations of interplay. — In short, whether or not a city is built upon love."

[Essay 1b]

"Only through the experimental and ambiguous uncovering process of a spatiality of love, that responds to the shift we want to see happen in our social relations, will we be able to support the blossoming of the transformation of that world we want to live in."

© 2020. Louis Lupien.

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