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.

Conference: The Contemporary Contemporary

My conference paper, What Now, What Next? Timing, Timeliness, Biding One’s Time, has been accepted for inclusion in the forthcoming conference The Contemporary Contemporary: Representations and Experiences of Contemporaneity in and through Contemporary Arts Practice, June 16-18, 2017, at ARoS Aarhus Art Museum. Confirmed keynote speakers: Ina Blom (Oslo), Raqs Media Collective (New Delhi), Knut Ebeling (Berlin), and Peter Osborne (London)

What constitutes the contemporary present? The contemporary present seems to be characterized by con-temporaneity. However contemporaneity is not to be understood ahistorically as simply the state of belonging to the same time or period, or existing or occurring at the same time, but rather as the coming together of a multitude of different times and temporalities in the same historical present. This is the contemporary contemporary. It is formed by an intensified global interconnectedness of different times and experiences of time that challenge as well as consolidate some of the hierarchies that have been associated with modernity.     

With networked informational technologies and ever more socialized media forms it is now becoming more and more evident that the plurality of times today are not only existing at the same time, in parallel to each other, but that they interconnect and are being brought to bear on the same present, a kind of planetary present and a globally generalized sharing of time, even though of course the possibility of taking part in this interconnection and sharing is highly unevenly distributed. This, among other things, means that we – and we now dare to employ the collective pronoun as indicating, if only in principle, all of us – seem to live in an expanded present in which several temporalities, histories, and times take part in what is perceived as present and as presence.The purpose of the conference is to investigate and discuss this phenomenon and/or concept of contemporaneity and how it has come and still comes into being, and, not least, how it relates to and appears in contemporary art. How does it affect our experience(s) of time and contemporary formations of subjectivity? What are the consequences for concepts of history and for understandings of time itself? For art history? What is the role of media, and planetary-scale computation in the production of contemporaneity? How does it relate to current forms of capitalism? What are the implications for social imagination? Image-politics? Artistic practice? With the overall aim of analyzing, articulating, and discussing contemporaneity and its relationship to contemporary art these are some of the issues we invite paper proposals and artistic contributions to address.

Launch Event: Choreo-graphic Figures

I will be in Vienna during early May for a series of events marking the launch of the publication, Choreo-graphic Figures: Deviations from the Line. More to follow.

Conference: Please Specify!

Together with Nikolaus Gansterer and Mariella Greil, I will be presenting a performative paper at this year's Society of Artistic Research conference, Please Specify!, taking place in Helsinki, 28 -29 April 2017. The paper, Choreographic Figures: On Qualitative Specificity (How-ness) within Artistic Research, provides reflection on our research project Choreographic Figures: Deviations of the Line, and will be accompanied by the launch of our research publication.  

Abstract: Choreo-graphic Figures: Deviations from the Line stages a beyond-disciplinary, inter-subjective encounter between the lines of choreography, drawing and writing, for addressing the how-ness — the qualitative-processual, aesthetic-epistemological and ethico-empathetic dynamics — within shared artistic exploration; requiring a thematic shift of attention from the realm of demarcated disciplinary specificity towards an affective realm of forces and intensities (called figuring) operating before, between and beneath the more readable gestures of artistic practice. Our research explores the relation between the experience of figuring and emergence of figures (the point that figuring coalesces into a specific recognisable form). This performative presentation elaborates the qualitative specificity and constitutive conditions for three groups of figures: (1) Elemental Figures exposition of key moments within the arc of creative endeavour; (2) Empathetic Figures — diagramming of relations and sensitivities of being-with; (3) Transformative Figures identification of explicit shifts in quality or state of being, blurring the line between activity/passivity, subject/object, self/world.

About the Conference: Artistic research is maturing. The period of inauguration characterized by multi-faceted discussions concerning institutional and disciplinary questions has, in many contexts, reached a saturation point. Diverse perspectives have emerged. Artistic research consists of a variety of approaches and solutions and often functions as a multi- and transdisciplinary venture. As a developing multi-methodological research culture artistic research enriches methodological innovation and cross-over projects. Furthermore, research activities are structured with regard to some kind of specificity. A group of researchers might come together to work on a distinct object of study, through a specific question, with a certain methodology, and in a particular context. Depending on circumstances, specificity thus can appear as a socio-cultural parameter, a disciplinary variable or it can become a question of the medium of research. The Please Specify! Conference explores new perspectives on conditions of sharing research in the artistic field. How can specific interests, methods, discourses, positions and ways of knowing be more widely disseminated and made useful within and beyond artistic research? The traditional frameworks for sharing research have been built on ideas about the research object, method, context or medium. We ask if the conditions of sharing research can be thematised in other terms? What if these conditions relate to provocation, excess, limited resources, reduction, mise en abyme, absurd argumentation, populism, conspiracy, amateurism and the like? How do these or other invented specificities inform your take on artistic research? How can these issues be shared?

Publication in progress: Choreo-graphic Figures

Between 2 – 9 February 2017, I was working at Zentrum Fokus Forschung in Vienna, with Nikolaus Gansterer, Mariella Greil and designer Simona Koch, on the final content, layout and graphic design of our forthcoming book, Choreo-graphic Figures: Deviations from the Line. The publication is conceived as a studio-laboratory in itself, drawing together critical reflections and experimental practices that focus on the how-ness — the qualitative-processual, aesthetic-epistemological and ethico-empathetic dynamics — within shared artistic exploration, directing attention to an affective realm of forces and intensities operating before, between and beneath the more readable gestures of artistic practice. Hybrid of an artists-book and research compendium, Choreo-graphic Figures: Deviations from the Line invokes action by operating as a 'score' that can be activated by others, providing artists, theorists and creative practitioners with a modular system of performative and notational tools for future experimental play. More on the publication and related launch events to follow.

Book Launch and Lecture: The Yes of the No

Tuesday 24 January, 6.30 PM – 8 PM
Site Gallery, Sheffield

Emma Cocker, The Yes of the No
Book launch — with a reading at 7 PM
Join Site for the book launch and a reading of The Yes of the No, the first collection of writing by Emma Cocker (published by Site Gallery, 2016). Existing in the space between imaginative proposition and a call to action, The Yes of
 the No is an assemblage of provocations, proposals and potential ways of operating
 — ranging from navigating the city and inhabiting the margins to errant acts of reading; from preparing for the unexpected 
to learning how to ‘not know’, from minor acts of singular sedition to collective expressions of an insurgent ‘we’.

Tuesday 24 January, 4.30 PM – 6 PM
Sheffield Hallam University, Pennine Theatre, City Campus
Transmission Lecture
Prior to the book launch, Emma Cocker will give a lecture about the wider context of her practice as a writer-artist, as part of the Transmission Lecture Series, a series of free art lectures produced by Site Gallery in collaboration with Sheffield Hallam University’s Fine Art Department. 

Symposium: Analysis of Process

Image: Phil Cosker

I have been invited to chair this forthcoming symposium which explores the idea of process and cross-disciplinary collaboration.

Analysis of Process
A one-day symposium  
13 January 2017 10:00am - 4pm
The Collection and Usher Gallery Lincoln 

Analysis of Process explores cross-disciplinary approaches to creative practice seen through theatre & film design, writing, curation, and fine art practices. 
  • Where is common ground found and where is difference?
  • How is the process of developing ideas and making artefacts different in our disciplines and how does it pull us together?
  • What, and how do we share? 
  • When we find overlaps between us how does this redefine our own work?
  • How can we work together jointly in the development of creative outcomes and why would we want to do that?
  • Why are there seemingly artificial boundaries constructed around different creative disciplines?  

Organised by the Waddington Cultural Collective (WCC)
To book email: Ashley.Gallant@lincolnshire.gov.uk (free event but booking is essential)

Publication: Choreo-graphic Figures: Deviations from the Line

Between 10 – 13 November, I was working at WUK, in Vienna with Nikolaus Gansterer and Mariella Greil, alongside designer Simona Koch, on the content for our forthcoming publication from the project Choreo-graphic Figures: Deviations from the Line. Below are a couple of in-progress pages from the publication, as well as documentation of us working together at WUK. The book is due to be published in Spring 2017. More information in due course here