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 focuses on the process of artistic exploration and the performing of ‘thinking-in-action’ emerging therein; on 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.

Artists' publication: Above and Beyond

Over the last couple of years, I have been working with artist Rose Butler to develop a collaborative artists’ bookwork which is published this week.

We are told that there is no outside, that to make one’s resistance visible exposes it to control. Still, ways to resist must persist, for the imagining of a future otherwise. Pro-test then — test the system to its limits through the advance of experimental means; cultivate one’s disobedience as an aesthetic practice. Towards a resistant poetics of reorientation — tilt of experience on its axis such that it can be thought anew; radical reorganisation of attention above and beyond the conditions of surveillance and subjugation.

Above and Beyond is a dialogue between artist Rose Butler and writer-artist Emma Cocker reflecting on the interplay between surveillance and resistance; how technologies and techniques of capture might be subverted, transformed into experimental tactics of protest and dissent. The publication was developed through a process of conversation between Butler and Cocker taking place over a number of years (2015—2018), a period marked by substantial political shifts and humanitarian crisis, an unprecedented increase in surveillance and security control.

This collaborative artists’ publication is conceived in response to  Come and Go (see stills above), a dual screen interactive artwork by Rose Butler that takes Edison’s early films of the Serpentine Dance as its reference with the dance phrases filmed from above.

Images . . . . . . . . . . . . . Rose Butler
Text . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Emma Cocker
Choreographer . . . . . Alexander Whitley
Dancer . . . . . . . . . . . . . Natalie Allen
Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Joff and Ollie

Research Event: Translation Zone(s): A Constellation exhibition

With artist Clare Thornton, I will be showing a video work from our collaboration The Italic I as part of Translation Zone(s): Constellations, a programme of events curated by artist Heather Connelly within the frame of the 8th International Association of Translation and Intercultural Studies (IATIS) Conference in Hong Kong. More about the project here.

The Italic I is a collaborative art project that explores the performed event of surrendering to a repeated fall, slowed and extended through language and the lens. This enquiry focuses on the specificity of experience communicable in the translation of performance through its documents, both photographic and linguistic by asking: How do we translate the experiential nature of falling rather than documenting it only as a visual event? How can we develop a mode of linguistic expression — a mode of poetic textual translation — that embodies rather than describes the live experience that it seeks to articulate?

Translation Zone(s): Constellations is the collective term for the physical ‘zones’ or spatial configurations that Connelly devises to expand research into art-and-translation. These nomadic, multipurpose pop up project spaces, events and exhibitions foster a hospitable environment for interdisciplinary and transcultural research and seek to create the conditions for artists, academics and others to critically engage in the topic, participate and engage in activities, events and discussions that focus on the topic. The format and form of each zone/constellation is determined by its particular context, site, audience, themes, purpose and research questions that it is seeks to examine.

The exhibition includes work from established and emerging artists, curators, writers and researchers Bill Aitchison (UK/CN), Emma Cocker and Clare Thornton (UK), Heather Connelly (UK), Johanna Hällsten (SE/UK), Saskia Holmkvist (SE/NO), Rebecca Johnson (UK), Xiangyun Lim (SG), Marianna Maruyama (NL), Manuela Perteghella (IT/UK) and Ricarda Vidal (DE/UK), Annie Xu (CN/UK) and Solomon Yu, Jimmy Chan and Eddie Cheung (HK).

Translation Zone(s): Constellations, Hong Kong will be hosted by the 8th International Association of Translation and Intercultural Studies (IATIS) Conference theme is Translation and Cultural Mobility , Hong Kong Baptist University (3 - 6th July 2018). This programme of events/exhibition has been designed to compliment and expand the Exploring Cultural Mobility through Visual and Performance Art panel convened by Gabriela Saldanha (University of Birmingham) and Cristina Marinetti (Cardiff University).

Performance Lecture + Workshop: Choreo-graphic Figures, Berlin

8 + 9 June 2018
Performance Lecture + Workshop

How can we attend to the process of artistic sense-making from within or inside, that affective realm of energies, emergences and intensities operat­ing before, between, and below the more readable ges­tures of artistic practice? How can we develop systems of notation and performativity for sharing this often hidden or undisclosed aspect of the creative process, for communicating the experience with others?

Choreo-graphic Figures: Deviations from the Line is an artistic research project involving key researchers writer-artist Emma Cocker, artist-performer Nikolaus Gansterer and dancer-choreographer Mariella Greil, working with others including interlocutor Alex Arteaga. In this performance lecture at Salon für Ästhetische Experimente, the researchers draw on their publication Choreo-graphic Figures as a ‘score’, performing their findings and reflections as live event. An interdisciplinary workshop will give deeper insight into Choreo-graphic Figures, introducing practices of attention, conversation and notation for making tangible the barely perceptible micro-movements at the cusp of awareness within artistic process.
Performance Lecture: 8 June 2018, 6.00 – 9.00 pm, Universität der Künste, Room 101 (Alte Bibliothek), Hardenbergstraße 33, 10623 Berlin.

Workshop: 9 June 2018, 1.00 - 5.00pm, HZT - Hochschulzentrum Tanz, Uferstudios, Studio 11, Uferstraße 8/23, 13357 Berlin. Admission free.

The Salon für Ästhetische Experimente is a cooperation with the Haus der Kulturen der Welt and co-funded by the Einstein Foundation Berlin.

Event: Reading as a ‘Critical Poetic’ Practice

Reading as a ‘Critical Poetic’ Practice
23 May 2018: 5.30 – 7.00
Nottingham Trent University

Image: from Choreo-graphic Figures: Deviations from the Line, an artistic research project with Nikolaus Gansterer and Mariella Greil

Taking its point of departure from Michelle Boulous Walker’s Slow Philosophy: Reading Against the Institution and Georges Perec’s ‘Reading: A Socio-physiological Outline’, this reading group will explore: What might a ‘critical poetic’ mode of reading look/feel like? What kinds of (alternative) knowledge or ‘sense making’ are produced through experimental practices of reading? The intent is to consider the relations between reading and slowness through an experimental, experiential approach.

Different methods of reading can generate different registers of affect; there is scope for testing experimental tactics. Texts do not always need to be read in a linear or logical way, but rather can be dipped into, allowing for detours and distractions. A single sentence might open in one book, close in another. Certain sections are lingered over, whilst others skimmed past. Reading is not bound by the chronology of a text’s unfolding. Attention can be activated mid-sentence or half way down a page. Words are sonorous as much as signifying units; the soundness of a text tested by tongue and lips as much as by the mind. Certain language must be rolled in the mouth before it can be fully digested. Texts resonate at different frequencies according to their enunciation. New meanings are revealed by changed inflection, in the pauses and durations breathed between the words.  (Emma Cocker, fragments from ‘Reading Towards Becoming Causal’, in Reading/Feeling: Affect Reader, If I Can’t Dance … 2013)