Emma Cocker is a writer-artist based in Sheffield and Reader in Fine Art at Nottingham Trent University. Operating under the title Not Yet There, her research enquiry focuses on the process of artistic endeavour, alongside models of (art) practice and subjectivity that resist the pressure of a single, stable position by remaining willfully unresolved. Cocker’s work unfolds restlessly along the threshold between writing/art, often involving experimental, collaborative and performative approaches to writing in dialogue with, parallel to and as art practice. Her recent writing has been published in Failure, 2010; Stillness in a Mobile World, 2010; Drawing a Hypothesis: Figures of Thought, 2011; Hyperdrawing: Beyond the Lines of Contemporary Art, 2012, and On Not Knowing: How Artists Think, 2013, and as a collection entitled The Yes of the No, 2016. She is currently co-researcher on the project Choreo-graphic Figures: Deviations from the Line, 2014 – 2017.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Project: Summer Lab update

Summer Method Lab
14 July – 14 August 2016
AILab, Vienna, in conjunction with ImPulsTanz

During the Summer Lab 2016, we – Nikolaus Gansterer, Mariella Greil and Emma Cocker staged an intensive residency laboratory in collaboration with AILab and ImPulsTanz Festival. In dialogue with a team of international critical interlocutors and guests including Alex Arteaga, Lilia Mestre, Werner Möbius, Jörg Piringer and Christine De Smedt, this research residency focused towards experimental forms of publication, for ‘making public’ the live intensity of our exploration, its moments of discovery and revelation. An account and documentation of this phase of our research project can be found here.

Publication in development: Choreo-graphic Figures

From Summer onwards, we - myself, Nikolaus Gansterer and Mariella Greil (and invited contributors) - will be working to develop content for an artists' publication from the project Choreo-graphic Figures: Deviations from the Line, within which we will present the core conceptual, methodological and aesthetic discoveries made during our shared research. By grappling with the physical components of the publication during the recent Summer Lab in Vienna as a form of live exploration in and of itself, we were able to discern a structure comprised of textual-visual chapters including the Undisciplinary, Figure >< Figuring, Embodied Diagrammatics, which will be presented alongside an elaboration of the Method Lab model itself, artists’ pages for the various 'Figures' that we have developed through our research process, and an extended expositional section for articulating a ‘toolkit’ of working approaches related to the Practices of Attention, Notation, Conversation and Wit(h)nessing. Additionally, our publication will comprise contributions from many of the critical wit(h)nesses who have encountered our evolving research including Alex Arteaga, Arno Boehler and Susanne Granzer, Gabrielle Cram, Christine De Smedt, Karin Harrasser, Krassimira Kruschkova, Brandon Labelle, Lilia Mestre, Dieter Mersch, Werner Möbius, Alva Noë, Jeanette Pacher, Jörg Piringer, Helmut Ploebst, P. A. Skantze, Andreas Spiegl. Themes that we have invited for consideration include an exploration of:
  • Aesthetic research through the prism of enactivist theory;
  • Tactics of organisation/reorganization and the notion of affordance;
  • Critical curiosity and creative impulse;
  • The forces, flows and intensities at play within the time-space of artistic research;
  • The fluidity of co-emergence;
  • The time-space of the studio/lab, the durations and temporalities of artistic practice;
  • The play between attention and inattention, between productivity and non-productivity within the cycle of artistic labour;
  • Practices of resistance to utilitarianism or instrumentalisation, to dominant modes of production and the market;
  • The entanglement of experimentation and experience within collaboration and participation;
  • Possibilities for action and ethics beyond the normative within both aesthetic exploration and the wider societal field;
  • Non-categorical thinking, experimentation, plasticity and essaying as ways of avoiding closure;
  • The fragility, intimacy and solidarity arising from our entanglement with others, alongside the surfacing of ethical sensitivities;
  • The nano-political potential of minor movement-acts within aesthetic exploration and their reverberation within the wider societal field.

Monday, 12 September 2016

Lecture: Transmission - Who is the Artist?

I have been invited to give an 'artist's' talk as part of the Sheffield Hallam Transmission artists lecture series, on 14 November 2016, 4.00pm>

About the lecture series: The Transmission lecture series takes as its theme for 2016 to 2017 the question of who is an artist. This is not a faint echo of Joseph’s Beuys’s famous statement, reiterated endlessly by Beuys and others, that everyone is an artist (by which in any case, Beuys intended to suggest that everyone could apply a bit of creative thinking in whatever field they work, rather than that sort of thinking belonging solely to those who call themselves artists). We ask if it in an act of self-identification to name oneself an artist, or if it is exteriorised, that one is named as such by others. We ask if one learns to call oneself an artist, or if the title precedes the act, even produces it, as though an autopoesis, in response to or as part of an environment or system (or what might occur or be invested beyond this). We ask if to be an artist is more than a business term, one produced by and subject to market forces; if it is more than a job or less than a job or unlike a job. We ask if it demands a measure of skill, of technical competence, and to what extent this is contingent on cultural determination (and likewise, we suppose, for terms such as beauty). We ask what lies in a name and in a title. Transmission is convened by, Sharon Kivland, TC McCormack, Hester Reeve, and Julie Westerman, in collaboration with Site Gallery, Sheffield. The programme for 2016-17 is available here.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Publication: Contemporary art and Classical Myth

The publication Contemporary art and Classical Myth (eds.) Isabelle Loring Wallace and Jennie Hirsh (Routledge) to which I contributed the chapter, Over and Over Again and Again (exploring a specifically Sispyhean model of failure and repetition within post 1960’s art practice) is now available in paperback.

About the publication: Contemporary art is deeply engaged with the subject of classical myth. Yet within the literature on contemporary art, little has been said about this provocative relationship. Composed of fourteen original essays, Contemporary Art and Classical Myth addresses this scholarly gap, exploring, and in large part establishing, the multifaceted intersection of contemporary art and classical myth. The essays assembled here adopt a range of methodological frameworks, from iconography to deconstruction, and do so across an impressive range of artists and objects: Francis Alÿs, Ghada Amer, Wim Delvoye, Luciano Fabro, Joanna Frueh, Felix Gonzales-Torres, Duane Hanson, Yayoi Kusama, Roy Lichtenstein, Kara Walker, and an iconic photograph by Richard Drew subsequently entitled The Falling Man. Some essays concentrate on single works as they relate to specific myths, while others take a broader approach, calling on myth as a means of grappling with dominant trends in contemporary art

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Web work: The Italic I

Work in progress: A new text-based web work emerging from the collaborative project The Italic I with Clare Thornton, developed with Dane Watkins. In this work, we present our 16 stage textual lexicon devised for reflecting on the arc of a repeated fall as a slow moving graphic, periodically interrupted by additional moments of textual and visual annotation. The lexicon comprises the following categories: Testing (the) ground setting up the conditions; Opening attempt warming and flexing; Entering the arc trust, twist, torque; A commitment made working against impulse; Voluntary vertigo ilinx, inclination; Becoming diagonal the italic I; Touching limits tilt towards (the other); Embodiment/disembodiment mind body partition; Formless horizontality; Letting go a liquid state; Ecstatic impotency the jouissance of impuissance; Folding of attention a heightened subjectivity; Gravity/levity striking the right balances; Breathless  ventilating the idea; Voluptuous recovery return, yet charged; Recalibrate … loop desire to repeat. More on this project to follow soon.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

New writing: duration, attention, repetition

During September, I will be undertaking ‘field-work’ for a new body of writing and image-making exploring ideas around duration, attention and repetition. The context will be Lake Geneva, Switzerland, where I will be working in parallel to UK endurance swimmer and tri-athlete Jim Kersey, who will be undertaking to swim the length of the lake over a 24-hour (day and night) period. More details to follow.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Event: The Italic I at Counter

ClareThornton and I will be participating in the Counter Book Fair, which takes place at Plymouth University on Saturday 29th October, 12 – 6 pm. We will be presenting book-works from our shared and respective practices (including my forthcoming solo collection of writing, The Yes of the No), as well as a new web based text-work related to our project The Italic I, developed in collaboration with Dane Watkins. The full list of exhibitors can be found here.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Writing: Study Scores

I have been invited to contribute a text to a forthcoming publication produced in conjunction with a solo exhibition by artist Kayt Hughes. The exhibition is the culmination of a year long Fellowship awarded to Kayt as part of winning the prestigious Woon Sculpture Prize. A Nottingham Trent fine art graduate, Kayt won the prize for Study Scores, 2nd Movement (foreground in image above), a sculptural work inspired by playing of ‘wrong notes’ within musical improvisation. 

The new body of work developed during the Fellowship explores the similarities of sculpture making and a child’s investigation of the physical world. Hughes investigates materials’ properties with naivety, to extend their purpose and their potential to interact with one another. The objects make improvised gestures, with consideration to form, material and colour, constructing provisional and transitioning installations.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Residency/Workshops/Performance: Choreo—graphic Figures

Embodied diagrams and vitality gestures, relational and translational encounters. Attention heightened towards a barely perceptible realm of micro-movements and micro-gestures: the shifts of awareness and affordance activated in the side-by-side of collaborative exchange; opened up through the interference of space, sound, body and material, in the passage from one medium  writing-drawing-choreography  to another. Choreographic Figures: Deviations from the Line (2014 — 2017) is an interdisciplinary artistic research collaboration involving key researchers artist Nikolaus Gansterer, choreographer Mariella Greil and writer-artist Emma Cocker, in dialogue with a team of international critical interlocutors including Alex Arteaga, Lilia Mestre, Christine de Smedt, Werner Mobius, Jörg Piringer and other guests. Choreographic Figures attends to the unfolding processes of decision-making and dynamic movements of sense-making (figuring) within collaborative artistic enquiry, developing forms of performativity and notation (choreographic figures) for making tangible this often hidden, undisclosed aspect of the creative process.

From Summer 2016, the focus of the Choreographic Figures project turns towards experimental forms of publication, for ‘making public’ the live intensity of its exploration, its moments of discovery and revelation. This year's Summer Lab will take place in collaboration with AILab and ImPulsTanz FestivalResearch findings will be shared through various formats including public workshop intensives (Intensive I: Shifts of Attention: vigilance, engagement and translational processes and Intensive II: Modes of Languages: words as material), staged in conjunction with a lecture programme (with public lectures from special guests Brandon LaBelle, Alva Noë, Dieter Mersch and P.A. Skantza) and a durational performance, Choreo-graphic Figures: Body Diagrams on 2.8.2016 at 16:00-22:00 at AILab, Vienna, Austria.

On Friday 22 July at 18:00 our two special guests of Intensive I will give public lectures at AILab: Dieter Mersch - (“Figuration/Defiguration. On the dialectics of”Choreo-Graphy”) and P. A. Skantze (“I’m A Strange Kind of In-Between Thing”
). Admission free! On Friday 29 July at 18:00 our two special guests of Intensive II will give public lectures at AILab: Brandon LaBelle (“This Weakness That I Am”) and Alva Noë (“Writing Ourselves”). Admission free! Both Friday Lectures will be moderated by Chris Standfest in conversation with the team and guests of the Choreo-graphic Figures research project. A choreo-graphic publication drawing together materials from the project (with contributions from invited guests) will be launched in 2017.