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ASCO, Ascozilla/Asshole Mural, 1975. Photo Harry Gamboa, Jr. From the collection of Patssi Valdez.

ASCO, Ascozilla/Asshole Mural, 1975. Photo Harry Gamboa, Jr. From the collection of Patssi Valdez.

Events - Special Events

Shimmering, Shining, Vomiting, Glitter (the politics and poetics of disgust)

Call for Papers

20 Sep 2013


Taking place in parallel with a new exhibition of the work of artist collective Asco - whose name in Spanish refers to disgust, nausea, revulsion - this two day symposium seeks to explore the meaning of disgust across a range of practices, including art, literature, film and popular culture, activism, spatial practice and performance, from the twentieth century to the present day. Keynotes include: Chon Noriega (UCLA); Dominic Johnson (QMUL); Katie Jones (Nottingham) and Imogen Tyler (Lancaster).

Call For Papers


Lucy Bradnock (University of Nottingham)

Isobel Whitelegg (Nottingham Contemporary)

Active in East Los Angeles in the 1970s and ’80s, Asco chose a name that simultaneously described others’ responses to their early work and their own repugnance towards governmental, military and art-institutional authorities that at that time treated the Chicano community with undisguised contempt. Shimmering, Shining, Vomiting, Glitter: the poetics and politics of disgust will emphasise how individuals and groups imagined as objects of disgust may turn that designation back on itself - as a means to revolt or resist. We are inviting proposals for 20 minute presentations that focus on cases, contexts or forms of practice and/or contribute to current articulations of the meaning of disgust - as emotion, aesthetic, or affect, bound up in social relations or attendant politics of class, gender, race, and sexuality. We encourage proposals for papers and alternative presentation forms – e.g. incorporating aural, visual or performative elements. 

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Disgust as a political stance or strategy;
  • Disgust and theatricality;
  • Disgust and glamour, camp, or masquerade;
  • Cacophony, disgust, and aural experience;
  • Disgust, censorship and the definition of obscenity;
  • Disgust as a structuring principle, mode of communication or discourse;
  • Theoretical, semiological and sociological models of disgust;
  • The linguistics, rhetoric and poetics of disgust.

At once “attracted to and appalled by the glitter and gangrene of urban reality,” Asco’s poetics of disgust move through the warped glamour of self-styled ‘no-movie’ film stills to the creation of faked crime scenes, the appropriation of a gaping, dripping storm-drain as an ‘asshole mural’, and memorable uses of the written word. 

The parameters suggested by the poetics and politics of Asco and its context are extended across disciplines and into alternative geographical and historical domains by invited keynotes spanning fields of film, media, drama, performance, literature and sociology. These speakers include:

Chon Noriega, Professor of Film, Television & Media at UCLA and Director of the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center, is author of Shot in America: Television, the State, and the Rise of Chicano Cinema (2000) and co-author of Phantom Sightings: Art After the Chicano Movement (2008) and L.A. Xicano (2011).

Dominic Johnson, Senior Lecturer in Drama at QMUL, is author of Glorious Catastrophe: Jack Smith, Performance and Visual Culture (2012) and editor of the forthcoming Critical Live Art: Contemporary Histories of Performance in the UK.

Katie Jones, Lecturer in French at the University of Nottingham, is author of the forthcoming Representing Repulsion: the aesthetics of disgust in post-1990 women's writing in French and German, which focuses on (amongst others) the work of Marie Darrieussecq and Charlotte Roche.

Imogen Tyler, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Lancaster, is author of Revolting Subjects: Social Abjection & Resistance in Neoliberal Britain (2012) and now editing Immigrant Protest: Politics, Aesthetics, and Everyday Dissent (2014).

Please submit a 250-word proposal to Isobel Whitelegg by Fri Sept 20 2013 (using ‘CFP: Disgust’ as your subject line).

We encourage submissions from PhD candidates, practitioners, and academics (from early career to established). Proposals will be reviewed within an interdisciplinary committee of academics and practicing artists. 

For a printable version of this Call for Papers click the Downloads tab below. 

The Public Programme at Nottingham Contemporary is supported by Nottingham Trent University and the University of Nottingham.