My essay 'Not Yet There: Endless Searches and Irresolvable Quests' is going to be published by Cambridge Scholars Press as part of an edited book of papers selected from the three symposia, Telling Stories: Theories and Criticism/Cinematic Essay/Objects and Narrative (2009). The series of symposia Telling Stories was held at Loughborough University in February, April and September 2007. It included papers, screenings and performances, addressing the challenge to conventional expectations of meaning and objectivity emerging in modes of both critical writing and the visual arts. The resulting book (now in process) will address this trend, investigating the manner of narrative/counter-narrative, authorial presence, style, language and rhetoric across a range of contemporary practice and theory. Telling Stories will examine the manner and structure of narration across a range of contemporary practices (e.g. art object, film, photography, criticism) by scrutinising three aspects - the very specific form of the Cinematic Essay , experimental forms of Theory and Criticism and the Object and Narrative . It will aim to reflect the nature of contemporary art practice and theories that set out to encounter the world, its social conditions, its global perspectives and the nature of aesthetic discussion that no longer confines itself to form.
Image: Heather and Ivan Morison, Chinese Arboretum
ESSAY: Looking towards examples within artistic practice, I am interested in how the notion of an irresolvable quest might be reclaimed from the vaults of Romanticism; and redeployed as a strategic research methodology or framework for critical enquiry. Using the practice of artists, Heather and Ivan Morison as a point of reference, the intent then is to explore the irresolvable quest as a form of non-rationalist knowledge construction and meaning making: to assert a critical context or value for this method of enquiry where the possibility of irresolution and contingency; subjectivity and transitivity, partial truths and telling stories are redeemed alongside more empiricist methods of exploration.
The contents of the publication are as follows
Part One: Theories and Criticism
1. The Setting: Paradise Lost (And Regained) - Jane Rendell
2. Not Yet There: Endless Searches and Irresolvable Quests - Emma Cocker
3. Don’t Say Yes – Say Maybe! Fiction Writing and Art Writing - Maria Fusco
4. Talking Theory - Yve Lomax
5. Talk: Turbulence - Sissu Tarka
6. The Methodology of Mailmen: On Delivering Theory - Craig Martin
7. Never Work with Animals, Children and Digital Characters - Mary Oliver
Part Two: Objects and Narrative
8. Intercontinental Drift, or Frances Alÿs and the Saint of the Replica - Martha Buskirk
9. Curating the City - Robert Knifton
10. Appropriated Imagery, Material Affects and Narrative Outcomes - Marie Shurkus
11. Connecting the Unconnected - Lisa Stansbie
12. Text: Provisional: Performance - Stuart Brisley
13. Blossom keepers - Åsa Andersson
14. Narratives of Mastery in the zisha Ceramics Tradition of China - Geoffrey Gowlland
15. Unpacking my Father’s Library - Polly Gould
Part Three: The Cinematic Essay
16. The Melancholy Image: Chris Marker’s Cine-essays and the Ontology of the Photographic Image - Jon Kear
17. Playing with Death. The Aesthetics of Gleaning in Agnès Varda’s - Les Glaneurs - Jakob Hesler
18. Retro-Modular Cinematic Narrative: Jean-Luc Godard’s Masculin féminin in the Digital Age - Alex Munt
19. Transcript - Stephen Connolly
20. Who in the World: Essay Film, Transculture and Globality - Catherine Lupton
21. On Fog and Snow: Thought as Movement, or the Journey of the Essay Film - Laura Rascaroli
22. The Film is in Front of Us - Steven Eastwood
More information on the launch to follow soon.
- emma cocker
- 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.