An excerpt from my essay 'Over and Over, Again and Again' has been selected for inclusion in Failure, ed. Lisa Le Feuvre, (Documents of Contemporary Art Series, MIT Press/Whitechapel Gallery). This text belongs to a cluster of research entitled The Potentiality of Failure (within my broader research enquiry, Not Yet There. It focuses on developing a vocabulary for advocating a critical value for failure, by positing it as a form of resistance to or refusal of the dominant progressive, teleological or goal-oriented tendencies of contemporary experience. Central to this enquiry is an elaboration of a specifically Sisyphean model of failure, where the familiar (but habitually under-interrogated) figure of Sisyphus is considered as a cipher for investigating irresolution and incompletion as purposeful, generative strategies within artistic activity, where practice is valued as a contingent space of rehearsal, trial and endeavour. This enquiry focuses on an analysis of contemporary and historical practices where the ‘fail and repeat’ gesture is used as a critical device to thwart or challenge the authority within models of normative (habitually outcome or result-oriented) ‘success’. An text extract (of over 4000 words) is going to be included in Failure (ed.) Lisa Le Feuvre (Documents of Contemporary Art series, Whitechapel /MIT, 2010), a survey publication including writing by Giorgio Agamben, Samuel Beckett, Gilles Deleuze, Jörg Heiser and Stuart Morgan.
Below is a draft version of the chapter.
- 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 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. 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.