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 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 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.

Cultural Borrowings/Ethical Possession:

Cultural Borrowings: A Study Day on Appropriation, Reworking and Transformation
University of Nottingham, UK, Wednesday March 19th, 2008


Throughout history, artists have appropriated, sampled or borrowed elements from pre-existing work for use in new cultural texts. This one day conference, in association with the MeCCSA Postgraduate Network, seeks to interrogate the nature of such cultural borrowings, looking at how we can draw together insights from across the disciplines in order to further develop academic models of appropriation, reworking and transformation. Plenary Speakers will include Professor Christine Geraghty (University of Glasgow) and Professor David Hesmondhalgh (University of Leeds).

Emma Cocker: Abstract
Ethical Possession: Artists and the Archives
The prolific usage or ‘borrowing’ of found amateur film footage and archival material within artists’ film and video, perhaps indicates a post-millennial climate of change in which artists are searching for and testing out more experiential or empathetic modes of engaging with both the past and present. Focusing on artistic and filmic practices that recoup or re-activate archival material by dislocating it from its original purpose, transforming and reworking it in pursuit of new readings, meanings and questions, the aim is to move beyond an analysis of the specific material and aesthetic properties of the archival experience to speculate upon wider theories and practices in relation to the connection between appropriation, technology, and the notion of ‘prosthetic memory’. Referring to writing by film theorists such as Andreas Huyssen and Alison Landsberg, it possible to suggest that the current use and (re)presentation of archival film material using technology, presents a unique context through which to explore a model of appropriation where it becomes possible to propose dialogic relationships with others, and a more engaged, politically motivated or empathetic recuperation of the past and of the present. The resurgence and urgency of such practices might be seen to reflect a conceptual shift in which notions of borrowing, quotation and prosthetic experience are no longer viewed as indicative of negative pastiche or nostalgic appropriation, but are seen as re-politicized gestures through which to develop empathetic possibilities in a fragmented world. Representing a paradigm shift in the way that the past is encountered, it is possible to assert that contemporary practices have perhaps abandoned hollow borrowing or what might be described as temporal tourism in favour of a more dialogic or experiential encounter through the process of reciprocal or ethical possession.

More information about the conference here

A developed version of this paper has also been accepted as part of The Visible Memories Conference at Syracuse University, In New York in October

Conference Theme: The Visible Memories Conference at Syracuse University. The conference will explore the intersections between visual culture and memory studies with particular focus on the ways in which memories are manifested and experienced in visible, material, or spatial form. Examples of especially relevant and desirable research topics include: local sites of memory; memorials and archives; environmentalism and representations of nature; regional, national, or global tourism; discursive work on photography or cinema, digital media, and art installations.