Emma Cocker is a writer-artist based in Sheffield, UK. Operating under the title Not Yet There, her research addresses the endeavour of creative labour, focusing on models of (art) practice and subjectivity that resist or refuse the pressure of a single or stable position by remaining willfully unresolved. Not Yet There unfolds as an interdisciplinary, hybridized enquiry that operates restlessly along the threshold of writing/art, involving performative, collaborative and creative prose approaches to writing in dialogue with, parallel to and as art practice. Cocker's recent writing has been published in Failure, 2010; Stillness in a Mobile World, 2011; Drawing a Hypothesis: Figures of Thought, 2011; Hyperdrawing: Beyond the Lines of Contemporary Art, 2012; On Not Knowing: How Artists Think, 2013, and Reading/Feeling, 2013. The Yes of the No is Cocker's first collection of writing (Site Gallery, 2016). Cocker is a Reader in Fine Art at Nottingham Trent University.

Friday, 13 May 2016

Publication: Cartographies of Exile - A New Spatial Literary

My chapter ‘Looking for Loopholes: Cartography of Escape’ is out now in print in the publication Cartographies of Exile: A New Spatial Literary, (Routledge, 2016).

About the publication
This book proposes a fundamental relationship between exile and mapping. It seeks to understand the cartographic imperative inherent in the exilic condition, the exilic impulses fundamental to mapping, and the varied forms of description proper to both. The vital intimacy of the relationship between exile and mapping compels a new spatial literacy that requires the cultivation of localized, dynamic reading practices attuned to the complexities of understanding space as text and texts as spatial artifacts. The collection asks: what kinds of maps do exiles make? How are they conceived, drawn, read? Are they private maps or can they be shaped collectively? What is their relationship to memory and history? How do maps provide for new ways of imagining the fractured experience of exile and offer up both new strategies for reading displacement and new displaced reading strategies? Where does exilic mapping fit into a history of cartography, particularly within the twentieth-century spatial turn?

More here at Routledge.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Project: The Italic I – development.

The Italic I is an artistic enquiry developed in collaboration with Clare Thornton, for exploring the states of potential made possible by purposefully surrendering to the event of a repeated fall. A recent Arts Council Grant (2014 – 2016), enabled Clare and I to develop, test and stage this enquiry as a series of exhibitions, including a solo show at Project Space Plus, Lincoln (2014) and participate in the group exhibition The Alternative Document (2016). We are now developing this project further as a web-work in collaboration with Dane Watkins specifically exploring the animation of our textual lexicon for reflecting on the arc of falling, and a practice-based journal article for a forthcoming Special Issue (ed. Ang Bartram) of the Journal of Studies in Theatre and Performance exploring ideas around liveness and the lens, addressing the expanded modalities of performance and performativity - those emergent temporalities and subjectivities - produced at the threshold where live and lens meet.  

Images: Stills from Emma Cocker and Clare Thornton, The Italic I, video/performance reading


11 July - 14 August 2016
This year’s Summer Lab of the artistic research project Choreo-graphic Figures: Deviations from the Line - by artist-performer Nikolaus Gansterer, choreographer-dancer Mariella Greil and writer-artist Emma Cocker – will take place in collaboration with AILab and ImPulsTanz Festival. Working in dialogue with “the sputniks” Alex Arteaga, Lilia Mestre, Christine de Smedt and special guests, the focus for this Lab is on the choreo-graphic qualities of translational processes, shifts of attention, and modes of language. Evolving previous research around notation and radical scores of attention and embodied diagrams, the project focus now turns towards experimental forms of publication, explored through a series of public openings in various formats including lectures, workshops, and performances.

The CHOREO-GRAPHIC FIGURES Summer Lab will unfold through two interconnected workshops: Intensive I (Shifts of Attention: vigilance, engagement and translational processes) and Intensive II (Modes of Languages: words as material), within the frame of ImPulsTanz Festival.

Alex Arteaga, Mariella Greil, Lilia Mestre
CHOREO-GRAPHIC FIGURES: Intensive I (23. + 24.7.2016)
Shifts of Attention: vigilance, engagement and translational processes
This Intensive seeks out the choreo-graphic traces of translational processes, exploring the dynamics and shifts of attention, modes of engagement and relational intensities happening at the passage from one medium - writing-drawing-choreography - to the other. Evolving previous research around radical scores of attention, notation and embodied diagrams, the project’s focus now turns towards the liminal spaces emerging through crossing fields of practice, through the textualisation of performance matters and experimental forms of translation. The embodiment of ideas and concepts is explored through rigorous commitment to thinking-in-action. This Intensive focuses on the particularity of expanded art forms through the development of cross-modal perceptive scores, where the question of „how-ness“ overwrites and challenges the notion of disciplinary boundaries. We investigate somatic practices with special care for cultivating alertness to compositional decision-making within a collaborative creative process, and the development of an expanded system of notation based on vitality gestures as embodied diagrammatics.

Emma Cocker, Nikolaus Gansterer, Christine de Smedt
CHOREO-GRAPHIC FIGURES: Intensive II (30. + 31.7.2016)
Modes of Languages: Words as Material
This Intensive turns towards experimental forms of publication, focusing on the notion of words as material, and the liberation of language from the regime of signification and informational exchange towards an embodied poetics. Evolving previous research around the reverberation of speech and voice and the embodiment of text, we continue our investigation around the aesthetic-epistemological gesture of artistic (re)searching, explored through the transformation of words, the act of rolling language around in the mouth as a physical practice. The starting point for this field of experimentation are conversational transcripts from our three-year artistic research project, approached as live material for playful appropriation and reworking. Our emphasis is on activating language through rhythmic, relational speech acts: through the affect of breath and air bringing qualities of lightness and aeration, the babble of overlapping voices reading together, echoes and translations, stutters and repetitions, whispered conversations assembled from dislocated fragments of text.

Publication: Live coding - a user's manual

I am currently working on a forthcoming publication Live coding - a user's manual (working title), co-authored with Alan Blackwell, Professor, Interdisciplinary Design, University of Cambridge; Geoff Cox, Associate Professor, Department of Aesthetics, Aarhus University; Alex McLean, Research Fellow, Scientific Research in Music, Leeds University; Thor Magnusson, Lecturer in Music, University of Sussex.

Brief Description: Live coding has emerged over the past decade as a dynamic creative practice that has gained attention across cultural and technical fields – from music and the visual arts through to computer science. It is broadly defined as improvised interactive programming, typically but not exclusively to create electronic music or video, and performed live in public. The proposed book, Live coding - a user's manual, is structured as a multi-authored comprehensive introduction to the field of live coding and a broader cultural commentary on its potential to open up deeper questions about contemporary cultural production and computational culture. The phrase ‘live coding’ - referring to the use of interactive programming languages in performing arts - becomes the starting point for analysis and the overall project of the book; first examining coding practices as live events, and secondly examining the relatively understated question of temporality in coding. In addition to its particular technical and aesthetic qualities, the book argues that the practice of live coding raises wider contemporary concerns, related to the human–machine relation and to conditions of liveness and real-time processes. Indeed it deals centrally with the experience of time, and the various possibilities for change and action that the practice of coding allows. In this sense the book makes the central claim that live coding provides an example of what it means to be ‘operative’ and to be ‘radically present’ in the world.

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Conference Paper: Performing Thinking in Action: The Meletē of Live Coding

My paper Performing Thinking in Action:The Meletē of Live Coding has been accepted for inclusion in the forthcoming second International Conference on Live Coding 2016 (ICLC 2016), will take place at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada from October 12th to October 15th, 2016. My paper elaborates ideas which I am developing for an article of the same title for a Special Issue of the International Journal of Performance Arts & Digital Media (Issue 12.2, October 2016), which will focus on Live Coding in Performance Arts. Concerns explored in the paper will also be developed further through my involvement in co-authoring the first book length academic publication addressing Live Coding, Live coding - a user's manual, with Alan Blackwell, Professor, Interdisciplinary Design, University of Cambridge; Geoff Cox, Associate Professor, Department of Aesthetics, Aarhus University; Alex McLean, Research Fellow, Scientific Research in Music, Leeds University; Thor Magnusson, Lecturer in Music, University of Sussex.

This paper interprets live coding as a dynamic model of ‘performing thinking’ in action and the performing of ‘thinking-in-action’. Underpinned by the principle of performing its thinking through ‘showing the screen’, live coding ‘makes visible’ the process of its own unfolding through the public sharing of live decision-making within improvisatory performance practice, emphasizing the durational ‘taking place’ of something happening (live). The making visible of thinking ‘in action’ has epistemological import, shedding light on the nature of knowledge production and mode of intelligence operative therein, generating insights into this habitually unseen aspect of creative endeavour. Live coding can also be conceived as the performing of ‘thinking in action’, a live, embodied navigation of various critical thresholds, affordances and restraints: for working with elective rules/restraints as critical leverage; testing the relation between receptivity and spontaneity, between an immersive flow experience and split-attention, human and machine, the known and not yet known.

Monday, 4 April 2016

Talk: Writing Movement / Reading Movement

Spike Island artist in residence Tamarin Norwood invites dancer and performance artist Martina Conti, writer-artist Emma Cocker and writer and singer Phil Owen to join her in conversation. Building upon insights from their own interdisciplinary methods, they will explore the liveness and 'timeliness' of action and notation across drawing, writing and choreography. This event is part of Point Line Time, a drawing research project led by artist and writer Tamarin Norwood as part of her twelve-month residency at Spike Island, Bristol. Throughout her residency, Norwood is working with a network of researchers and practitioners including an animator, a 3D print engineer, a choreographer and a sign language translator to explore the acts of drawing and writing in relation to time and three-dimensional space. She hosts a series of public conversations, presentations and live experiments as she develops a new body of work. More about the event here.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Exhibition: The Alternative Document

The Alternative Document
project space plus, Lincoln
Curated by Angela Bartram
13 February – 11 March 2016

Artists: Tim Etchells, Jordan McKenzie, Rochelle Haley, David Brazier & Kelda Free, Hector Canonge, Rachel Cherry, Luce Choules, Emma Cocker & Clare Thornton, Kate Corder, Chris Green & Katheryn Owen, Andrew Pepper, Louise K Wilson, Bartram O’Neill. 

About The Alternative Document Exhibition / Text / Publication
Beyond most ephemeral artwork a memory remains in the mind of the observer and this forms part of the legacy of the fleeting event. However, memory is mostly a personal experience, that shifts, mutates, and fades over time to become distant, different to its origin, and in this way its archival potential is unreliable. To overcome this dilemma a variety of lens-based archival methods have become the tradition of recording the ‘actual’ event in as far as it is possible. Although a recorder, of any variation, can provide footage that gives place and context of the archive document, they present a dilemma – how much do they indicate what it was like to ‘be there’. For recordings are mediated and translated for posterity through the direction of the person holding the device and document their viewpoint and subjective encounter with the work. This creates an archival document open to subjective discussion, as a memorial and work in its own right, and of which alternatives are often sought. It is in this way that the disciplinary ghettos of event and documentation are abandoned in favour of a mode of practice that allows for a greater level of mutual critique. For documentation is also subject to the same vagaries of time as the event itself.

Concerned with the ephemeral and how it is perceived Peggy Phelan represents a position on this subject of “you have to be there” in order to understand the ephemeral. Phelan acknowledges that a performance “become[s] itself through disappearance.” This argument draws empathy, but in practice is a less than pragmatic account of the reality of experiencing ephemeral works, for how is the work to exist beyond the moment if not recorded in some way. The symposium seeks to expand on the idea of ephemeral and its loss, and by offering a platform where alternative acts of legacy can be discussed. Hosted by the University of Lincoln the conference will take place in Lincoln Performing Arts Centre on the 13th February 2016. It will run in conjunction with the exhibition of the same name at the university’s gallery Project Space Plus, which will open on 12th February 2016.