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 artistic processes and practices, 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 practice involves ‘contiguous writing’ — a mode of creative-critical writing that seeks to touch upon rather than being explicitly about. Her 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, The Yes of the No, 2016.

Award: SAR RC Prize 2019 Winner

The Society of Artistic Research SAR RC Prize for Best Exposition 2019 goes to: Choreo-graphic Figures: Scoring Aesthetic Encounters (2019) Emma Cocker, Nikolaus Gansterer, Mariella Greil-Moebius, Simona Koch.

The exposition Choreo-graphic Figures: Scoring Aesthetic Encounters (2019) stages an encounter between choreography, drawing, sound and writing in order to explore those knowledge forms through collaborative exchange. The exposition stages the different modes of practice as an actual dialogue and collision, and derives from the findings of the research project Choreo-graphic Figures: Deviations from the Line (2014-2017) by Emma Cocker, Nikolaus Gansterer and Mariella Greil. The researchers seek to extend their investigation in questioning how a digital archive can be created that is capable of reflecting the durational and relational aspects of the research process. The outcome is a non-linear rhizomatic (using the artists’ term) encounter with artistic research, where the findings are activated as a choreo-graphic event. The artist and designer Simona Koch supported the transformation from an embodied, experiential enquiry into different publication formats, including a text-based book, alongside the online digital format of the RC exposition. The RC complements the shortcomings of printed material and utilizes the performative qualities of sound, image and film that cannot be expressed in the printed material. In this way in the project, the digital and printed material complement each other.

The exposition can be encountered experientially through a section called ‘Playing the Score’, whilst the ‘Find Out More’ section contains contextual framing alongside conceptual-theoretical reflections on the ecology of practices and figures. The authors make an interesting use of the RC platform, communicating their research through rich and articulate interactions between text and multimedia materials. Once the user selects ‘Play the Score’, the exposition becomes an inhabited drawing where performance, documentation, notation and user agency are blurred, and their interconnections are explored in rich ways. The complexity of the exposition is built through written and spoken word, video and sound recordings, photos and graphic elements that enable and encourage the user to literally re-enact the research process. Documentation of the performative elements of the research interplay with artistic writings, presented as animated text elements and reflections of notational forms that are embedded in the current discourse on [e.g.] aesthetics and human nature. The delightful and enjoyable layout and design of the exposition helps the reader understand the content. The exposition was published in Journal for Artistic Research – JAR 18.

Ottersberg 15.03.20
Gabriele Schmid, Prize Jury Chair

The Jury was comprised of Gabriele Schmid, Chair / Angela Bartram (substitute) from SAR Executive Board; Karst de Jong / Heidi Paatere Möller (substitute) from SAR Portal Partners and Matilde Meireles / Diogo Alvim (substitute) as previous prize-winners.

Event: Site Writing

I have been invited to contribute to the MA module in Site Writing led by Jane Rendell at the Bartlett School of Architecture. Site-writing (a term coined and conceptualised by Rendell) is a critical and ethical spatial practice that explores what happens when discussions concerning situatedness and site-specificity enter the writing of criticism, history and theory, and writers reflect on their own subject positions in relation to their particular objects and fields of study, and on how their writing can engage materially with their sites of inquiry and audiences. Drawing out the spatial qualities of these interactions between writers and readers on the one hand, places, artefacts, and texts on the other, includes sites – material, political and conceptual – as well as those remembered, dreamed and imagined. By drawing on the emotional, as well as the political, qualities of interactions between subjects and sites, site-writings have the potential to reconfigure the relations between spatial theories, poetics, and practices, in ways that are ethical and aesthetic.

I (as part of my collaboration The Italic I, with Clare Thornton) have also recently contributed pages to Jane Rendell’s online archive of site-writing, which draws together the examples by writers whose work is engaged – closely and at a distance – with the concepts and processes of site-writing. 

Keynote: International Conference On Live Coding

I am an invited keynote at the forthcoming International Conference On Live Coding taking place from 5 – 7 February 2020 in Limerick.

The International Conference on Live Coding (ICLC) is dedicated to artistic research on the technologies, practices and philosophies that interpret the use of computer code as gesture within a live performance. ICLC 2020 takes place in Limerick and theoretical works, performances, workshops and installations that explore (but that may not be limited to) the following topics will be presented and performed:

THEORIES OF LIVE CODING: Live Coding and Open Source Culture, Ethics Of Live Coding, Audience Perspectives and Heterophenomenologies, Aesthetics, Esolang, Philosophy Of Software, Inclusion/Equity, Cultural Processes, Phenomenology Of Live Code, Live Coding And Embodiment, Philosophy of Code and Computation.

TECHNOLOGIES OF LIVE CODING: Programming Language Design, Web Live Coding, Live Coding and Autonomous Agents, AI And Live Coding, Live Coding Maker Movement, Live Coding Ecosystems, Experience Design, Visualising Live Process, Interface Design, CUIs:Code As Live User Interface. More info at: http://iclc.livecodenetwork.org/2020/

Conference presentation: No Telos - Tactics of Affirmative Uncertainty,

Danica Maier and I will be presenting a paper at The Crisis Collective! the forthcoming SAR International Conference on Artistic Research 2020 held on 25–28 March 2020 in Bergen, Norway. The Crisis Collective! investigates and discusses the relation between Artistic Research, various notions of collective reality and alternative imaginations. Can Artistic Research - through artistic actions - generate alternative modes of knowledge, art, and reality? Our proposed presentation will contribute to the thematic strand within the conference entitled Hammer and Mirror? The language of artistic research. Artistic research shares its metaphorical language with the language of capitalism, sports, and warfare. Resource. Production. Method. Gain. Challenge. Opposition. Defence. This vocabulary creates a formal context and an imminent agency that might influence the specific Artistic Research undertakings and their potential to intervene into the larger collectives of reflection and discourse.

Abstract: No Telos - Tactics of Affirmative Uncertainty
How can artistic research operate alternatively to the language of capitalism, sports and warfare (modelled on economic efficiency/gain, competition/success, target-hitting/strategic machination)? How can artistic research practices that are non-teleological, atelic or autotelic intervene in and unsettle the outcome-motivated and achievement-driven tendencies of contemporary culture, by cultivating shared practices of experiential becoming and collective being-doing? Reflecting on No Telos (2016>) — a project exploring the critical role of uncertainty, disorientation and not knowing within artistic research-practice — we ask: How can we shift emphasis from goal-oriented productivity towards experimental forms of process-led exploration, subversive playfulness and wilful irresolution? Can we differentiate affirming and debilitating forms of uncertainty and open-endedness, between a not knowing that vectors towards generative exploration and that which paralyses, creates stasis? What role has the practising of creative uncertainty within the uncertain conditions of contemporary life? Towards an ethics of uncertainty — how can an encounter with the unfamiliar and strange(r) operate as a micro-political, ethico-aesthetic practice? The rhetoric of art practice, pedagogy and research often foregrounds not knowing, uncertainty and getting lost — yet how can such principles be taught or practised?  Against the strategic power dynamics of institutionalised research, No Telos embraces Michel de Certeau’s advocacy of everyday ‘tactics’ that invigorate the experiential quality of life lived — aesthetic practices of reading, looking, walking, talking, eating, being-with. Invoking the Latin etymology of ‘mirror’ — mirare: to observe, contemplate, look at, wonder — we ask: How can artistic research not only mirror back (reflect, reveal) the conditions of life as-is, but also reactivate critical curiosity (Paulo Freire), re-engage a capacity for collective attention and imagination?

Reading on Reading

Event: InDialogue

I will be presenting as part of the forthcoming InDialogue symposium (19 – 21 November). InDialogue is a collaborative research project that interrogates how artists and researchers use dialogue in practice. This 4th iteration of InDialogue brings together UK and International based artists and researchers to push the boundaries in thinking about the use of DIALOGUE and SITE within PRACTICE, across the disciplines of art and design. InDialogue takes place in 3 cities over 3 days:

When & Where
DAY 1: Derby, Tuesday 19th November 9.30 - 21.00 Derby Theatre Deda
DAY 2: Lincoln, Wednesday 20th November 11.00 - 18.00 Mansions of the Future 
DAY 3: Nottingham, Thursday 21st November 11.00 - 21.00 Nottingham Contemporary