I am increasingly interested in returning to exploring text as a site of practice or at least as a space for testing out some of the ideas I am interrogating within a range more conventionally 'academic' texts. There is the danger that I had begun to forget how important this (usually hidden and invariably sporadic) activity is as part of my practice. I had been thinking about the role of these 'other' forms of writing/text during the 'Host Observatory' project, when I had been writing semi-publicly in a different manner to how I might habitually present text. Below is a rendition of a rather old work, which I think operates in this hybrid space between a form of practice and a visual 'thinking through of ideas' which have become central to some of my more recent work.
Images: 'Contradictory words seem a little crazy', installation diagrams, 1997
Here, practice is part of a research methodology for other writing or thinking, rather than an end in itself (again rather like that produced during the Host project). It functions a little like the role of the Macguffin (discussed in other pieces of writing) as a vehicle which essentially kick starts the plot but then perhaps disappears from the centre stage. This particular piece draws on a quote from Luce Irigaray from 'This Sex which is not one', and was exhibited as part of Site and Sound in 1997 (Site Gallery and various off-site locations), and later as part of the Islington International Festival, London, 1998. Different coloured light unscrambles different parts and patterns in a grid of letters, allowing different meanings, hidden messages to be read. Manipulating and breaking patterns of communication, language begins to operate within a different set of rules. No longer carrier of meaning its lines of communication can be broken down, transgressed or somehow rendered void. The actual work was a shop window based text installation which could be viewed from the street after dusk.
- emma cocker
- Emma Cocker is a writer-artist based in Sheffield and Reader in Fine Art at Nottingham Trent University. Operating under the title Not Yet There, her 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. Cocker’s work unfolds restlessly along the threshold between writing/art. Whilst embracing the potential of the essayistic (as a tentative effort or trial), her writing includes 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; and as a solo collection entitled The Yes of the No, 2016. She is currently a key-researcher on the project Choreo-graphic Figures: Deviations from the Line, with the artistic research findings published as an accompanying artists' book/research compendium, 2017.