Emma Cocker is a writer-artist based in Sheffield and Associate Professor in Fine Art, Nottingham Trent University. Emma's research focuses on artistic processes and practices, and the performing of ‘thinking-in-action’ therein. Her practice unfolds restlessly along the threshold between writing/art, including experimental, performative and collaborative approaches, alongside a mode of ‘contiguous writing’ — a way of writing-with that seeks to touch upon rather than being explicitly about. Her writing is 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, 2013; On Not Knowing: How Artists Think, 2013; Choreo-graphic Figures: Deviations from the Line, 2017; The Creative Critic: Writing as/about Practice, and the solo collection, The Yes of the No, 2016. More recently, Emma trained to be a qualified yoga teacher, interested in how a heightened awareness of the body and breath, alongside meditation and attention practices, might be integrated into art-writing, artistic practice, pedagogy and research.

Text/Review: Words for Marking Time

I will be reviewing the forthcoming ANTI festival for Frieze magazine. I am proposing to use the opportunity to think more about different modes or experiences of time as encountered (and indeed produced) through practice (and language). In turn, these ideas will also form part of the thinking space or research for a new text that I am currently developing in relation to the work of Karin Kihlberg and Reuben Henry.

Words for Marking Time
In this review of the ANTI festival I am proposing to focus on the relation of language to time, on writings for marking and performing time. My intent is to move from an understanding of this relation as being one of tense (from words which locate a performative situation or action in time) towards an interrogation of performative forms of writing which speak more of the qualitative, the how (rather than the when) of writing’s timing. With reference to specific works in the festival I want to focus on kairotic writing, texts that are all about opportune timing or biding your time. Whilst chronos signals chronological or sequential time, kairos describes that moment of an undetermined period of time in which something special happens or is missed. Kairotic texts thus emerge from chance encounters and unexpected synchronicities; they speak out for or against when the occasion calls; they are invitational texts which create openings or opportunities, or else signal the taking place of incidental events whose potential all too often remains unrecognised or ignored. Whilst kairos resists the logic of chronos by focusing on the fleeting instance of opportunity or of a moment passing, there are other forms of performative writing that speak more of the durational properties of time passing,  that unfold over time. However, rather than simply marking or measuring time as a clock might, these durational texts reflect an elastic experience of time, where the passing of time is always uneven and discontinuous, inconsistent and full of holes. These writings elucidate an experience of time as it is a shaped by boredom, immersion, exhaustion, collectivity, conversation, memory, guilt, regret. Collectively both kairotic and durational texts attest to the different ways whereby time is not only passed, but also actively spent, caught, wasted, killed, saved, lost, found, remolded or re-edited through the performative act of writing.