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.

Performing Collectivity

I am writing a new essay/article for Dance Theatre Journal that aims to explore some of the shared concerns and connections within three recent exhibitions, Victor Alimpiev’s To Trample Down An Arable Land, at IKON; Johanna Billing’s I'm Lost Without Your Rhythm at Arnolfini gallery, and FrenchMottershead’s Shops project at Site Gallery. In each instance, the work is underpinned by a performance often drawing explicitly on forms of collective choreography or movement or action. In different ways, each of these exhibitions presents an exploration of the relationship between the individual within the collective or community, ideas around social ritual, tensions around participation and the performance or choreography of collectivity.

In the article I am proposing to explore:

* The performance of collectivity (specifically examining the threshold/’fray’ between individual/collective behaviour)

* The space of decision-making in performance (within an art context and also as part of the performance of everyday life)

* The emergence of heterogeneity within collective action (e.g.comparing shoaling with schooling; performative ‘symphony’ with ‘synchronicity’ affinity with conformity). 

Images below: Victor Alimpiev and Johanna Billing