Emma Cocker is a writer-artist and Reader in Fine Art at Nottingham Trent University. Operating under the title Not Yet There, her research often 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.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Research Publication: Process in artistic research

Choreo-graphic Figures: Beginnings and Emergences, a collaborative research article reflecting on the first year of the project Choreo-graphic Figures: Deviations from the Line (a collaboration between myself, Nikolaus Gansterer and Mariella Greil), is about to be published in the online journal RUUKKU: Studies in Artistic Research, in the forthcoming issue on Process in Artistic Research.

About the issue: Process in artistic research: Various processes are an indistinguishable part of the practices of art and research. Ever since the 1960s when works of art evolving in time or transforming in shape were presented to viewers, listeners, and participants, ‘process' has been one of the magic words within contemporary art. Repetition, variation, and works based on interaction are examples of compositional methods that underline happening and change, instead of the complete, monolithic, and intact work of art. Comparing variations and analysing transformations are common methods of artistic research. In performing arts process is essential since the skill and knowledge of the artist are accumulated in a corporeal manner. Understanding is developed in interactions between musicians, actors or dancers; we can speak of encountering unknown layers or, in line with Michel Foucault, an archaeology of skill. Opening up and articulating artistic processes is considered one of the main tasks for artistic research. At the same time, developing new interactive processes is one of the societal duties of contemporary artists and artistic researchers. 

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Research residency: Choreo-graphic Figures: Method Lab II

The interdisciplinary research project Choreo-graphic Figures: Deviations from the Line, a collaboration between artist/performer Nikolaus Gansterer, choreographer Mariella Greil and writer-artist Emma Cocker is in residence at the AILab - Innovation Laboratory, Vienna from 13 July - 14 August 2015. In dialogue with a team of international critical interlocutors including Alex Arteaga, Lilia Mestre, Christine de Smedt, Werner Moebius, Joerg Piringer and other guests, Method Lab II extends the sharing of practice and working methods around the Notion of An/Notation <> An/Notation of Notion, towards the development of experimental Scores of Attention. More to be announced soon!

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Research project: Choreo-graphic Figures

From 4 – 7 June, I was in Vienna working with Nikolaus Gansterer and Mariella Greil within the context of our collaborative research project, Choreo-graphic Figures: Deviations of the Line. Specifically, we will be working together to develop a page-based contribution to be submitted to the forthcoming issue of Performance Research Journal, Vol. 20, No. 6: ‘On An/Notations’ (December 2015). Co-Editors: Scott deLahunta, Kim Vincs and Sarah Whatley (Deakin University [Motion.Lab] AUS & Coventry University [Centre for Dance Research] UK).

Notion of Notation < > Notation of Notion

Drawing on findings from the first year of the research project Choreo-graphic Figures: Deviations from the Line (specifically from field-work undertaken during a month-long research residency within ImPulsTanz [Vienna, July – August 2014] & within the context of a one-week residency/workshop working with researchers at apass [Centre of Advanced Performance & Scenography Studies, Brussels, Feb, 2015]), our intent is to share & put pressure on our recent explorations around both the ‘notion of notation’ & the ‘notation of notion’, exploring the format of a page-based annotated performance score, itself a diagramming of the multiple & at times competing forces & energies operative within artistic collaborative practice. We propose to investigate notation (& its related technologies) through two concepts: figuring & (choreo-graphic) figure: (1) The Notion/Notation of Figuring: We use the term ‘figuring’ to describe a state of emergence or experiential shift, the barely perceptible movements & transitions at the cusp of awareness within the process of “sense-making”, asking what different systems of notation can be developed for cultivating awareness of & for marking and identifying the moments of “figuring” within live investigative action? (2) The Notion/Notation of Figure: We use the term ‘figure’ to describe the point at which figuring coalesces into a recognizable + repeatable form, asking how might the performed ‘figure’ be a system of notation in & of itself? Our shared quest is both for a system of notation for honouring the process of figuring (as a live investigative event) & for “choreo-graphic” figures for making tangible & communicating these significant moments within the unfolding journey of collaborative practice.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Publication: The Italic I (Studio as Gymnasium)

The Italic I (Studio as Gymnasium) – a 'thought experiment' produced in collaboration with Clare Thorntonhas been accepted for inclusion in a forthcoming issue of Drain Magazine on Athleticism.

Abstract: The Italic I (Studio as Gymnasium): The Italic I is a practice-based collaboration between writer-artist Emma Cocker and interdisciplinary artist Clare Thornton, for exploring the various states of potential made possible through purposefully surrendering to the event of a repeated fall. Within our artistic investigation … the studio or gallery is approached as a gymnasium within which to practice falling; however, the purpose of practicing is not towards a telos, the perfection of a given move or some future performance. Rather, falling is repeated in a move towards deeper understanding, for becoming more sensitized to the experience, more attuned to its risings and falls, its intensities and durations. In these terms, the athleticism inherent within the activity itself becomes a means for increasing one’s capacity (as it is practiced), for producing unexpected forms of embodied knowledge and augmented subjectivity.

About the issue Athleticism: The word ‘athletic’ derives from the Greek, athlēō (‘compete for a prize’). In this schema, the ‘prize’ is the thing competed for, but this can be defined in many ways: as a gift, a kiss, a drop of blood, or a ribbon. We are often told that the prize is not important but participation is. The athlete models subjectivity, the body, desire, social relations, matter and chance in order to achieve a measure of success, recognition, mastery, the deferral of death and emptiness, a place in history, an apotheosis of self-love, among other things. How can artworks, essays, thought experiments, interventions, social events and encounters allow us to critically analyze and even undo the habitual idioms, rules and expectations surrounding athleticism as a measure or even as an outcome? Is it possible to create a differently dispersed athleticism that shows us what a body can do, what a care of the body can mean, or indeed, arranges new relations between bodies in order to attain a hitherto unimaginable prize? In what ways can we think through/work away from/deconstruct the fascistic tendencies of the ‘competitive spirit’ in order to arrange new rhythms and durations, participative networks and subjectivities? Can athleticism be situated within a more radical play of performances and acts that involve unanticipated outcomes and risks? Put in another way, how can a radical undoing of the telos of the athlete lead us to redefine what is worth struggling for?

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Reflections: Weaving/Coding

Productive few days of working and reflection in the Museum für Abgüsse Klassischer Bildwerke in Munich with Ellen Harlizius-Klück, Dave Griffiths and Alex McLean, as part of the project Weaving Codes/Coding Weaves. Whilst paying attention to the work and dialogue between Ellen, Dave and Alex, the context for the museum also provided a critical context in itself for reflecting on the project (including through a form of visual/photographic note-taking which will be returned to as provocation for future writing). Above, Penelope (the weaver) and Artemis/Diana (the hunter/archer) - in close proximity in the museum. A kairotic connection perhaps? Kairos has origins in two different sources: archery, where as Eric Charles White notes, it describes “an opening or ‘opportunity’ or, more precisely, a long tunnel like aperture through which the archer’s arrow has to pass”, and weaving where there is “a ‘critical time’ when the weaver must draw the yarn through a gap that momentarily opens in the warp of the cloth being woven” (Eric Charles White, 1987. Kaironomia: On the Will to Invent. Cornell University Press, Ithaca and London: 13).

The experience of being in the Museum für Abgüsse Klassischer Bildwerke provided a context for thinking through the ideas related to the Weaving Codes/Coding Weaves (specifically in relation to Penelopean labour) from a different perspective, through the provocation of various encounters therein (some examples of encounter below) which offered a very particular prism for reflection. Ideas of live coding/weaving to manual dexterity (or loss thereof); different modalities of sense-making (embracing tactility, temporality, embodied experience, perhaps even the politics and poetics of écriture féminine); the relation between weaving/unweaving to folding/unfolding/refolding; reversibility and also irreversibility; the notion of the version (as a site of repetition or iteration but with variation, the possibility of different inflection); the relation between cuts and continuities in notation (discontinuous and continuous systems for describing both the experience of coding and of weaving); practices for 'making tangible' the hidden or invisible, the immaterial or seemingly virtual, through the spatialisation of process as well as attending to the nature of its temporality  .... more to follow. 

Visual 'note-taking' in the Museum für Abgüsse Klassischer Bildwerke

From my recent paper 'Live Coding / Weaving - Penelopean Mêtis and the Weaver-Coder’s Kairos', "I think of Luce Irigaray when she says, “one must listen differently in order to hear an other meaning which is constantly in the process of weaving itself, at the same time ceaselessly embracing words and yet casting them off to avoid becoming fixed immobilised” (Irigaray 1980: 103). A Penelopean labour - doing and undoing - but not the repetitive practice of sameness, but rather one of attending to difference, to the potential twists, variations and permutations of the thread or code. Here, a ‘doing-undoing-redoing’ perhaps akin to the Deleuzian conceptualization of a plier/déplier/replier, where the act of folding, unfolding and refolding “no longer simply means tension-release, contraction-dilation, but enveloping-developing, involution-evolution” (Deleuze 2006: 9).

Below is a draft version of my paper, 'Live Coding / Weaving - Penelopean Mêtis and the Weaver-Coder’s Kairos'. An initial version of this paper was presented at the Threads and Codes symposium. This current version will be presented at the International Conference on Live Coding, 13 - 15 July 2015, University of Leeds, UK. ICLC is the first International Conference on Live Coding, hosted by ICSRiM in the School of Music, University of Leeds, UK, and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) as part of the Live Coding Research Network. http://iclc.livecodenetwork.org/