Emma Cocker is a writer-artist based in Sheffield and Associate Professor in Fine Art at Nottingham Trent University. Operating under the title Not Yet There, Cocker's 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 wilfully unresolved. Her mode of working unfolds restlessly along the threshold between writing/art, including experimental, performative and collaborative approaches to producing texts parallel to and as art practice. Cocker's 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; Reading/Feeling (Affect), 2013; On Not Knowing: How Artists Think, 2013; Choreo-graphic Figures: Deviations from the Line, 2017; The Creative Critic: Writing as/about Practice, and as a solo collection entitled The Yes of the No, 2016.

Conference: Artistic Research Will Eat Itself

My paper, Chewing the Cud: Conversation-as-Material, has been accepted for inclusion in the 9th SAR - International Conference on Artistic Research, Artistic Research Will Eat Itself, University of Plymouth, April 11-13 2018.

About the conference: The provocation Artistic Research Will Eat Itself can be understood as a warning against the dangers of methodological introspection, or as a playful invitation to explore the possibilities of a field in a constant state of becoming. In this context, the ‘cannibalism’ of artistic research ‘eating itself’ embodies a dynamic tension between self-destruction and regeneration. If artistic research eats itself, digests itself and then releases its own waste, does it stink and linger, fertilise new growth or invade new destinations on the bottom of someone’s shoe? If we are to constantly defend and define, are we in danger of having no art left, only the claims for its ability to embody knowledge? When we bite off our own heads do we grow new tails? Critical perspectives on the discourse surrounding artistic research might be argued to already be too formulaic or self-defeating. Making a case for its own institutional legitimacy could unwittingly reinforce some of the very things artistic research aims to critique. Yet such onto-epistemological paradoxes can offer a rich territory for exploration along with generative practices that involve reflexivity, automorphogenesis, and recursive feedback loops. In recognising auto-cannibalism as an analogy for broader socio-political and environmental concerns, one of the challenges for artistic research is to respond imaginatively to the dynamic tensions between self-destruction and regeneration.

Abstract: Chewing the Cud: Conversation-as-Material.
Ruminant: from the Latin ruminare – one given to meditation or contemplation, and also a mammal that chews the ‘cud’ regurgitated from its rumen (the first chamber of its alimentary canal). To ruminate, thus: to ponder, to turn over in the mind, and ‘to chew over again’. Drawing on the etymological relation between reflexivity and regurgitation – and between the oral exertions of speaking and chewing – I propose to reflect on a research method entitled ‘conversation-as-material’ that I have developed through various collaborations as a mode of self-reflexive enquiry and artistic production. Within this method, conversation is conceived not only as a verbal-linguistic means for reflecting introspectively on practice but also as a (re)generative practice in-and-of-itself; site and material for the construction of immanent, inter-subjective modes of linguistic ‘sense-making’ emerging from different voices enmeshed in live exchange.