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.

New work: Close Readings

I am in the process of developing a new project entitled Close Readings, interested in how fragments of textual language can be used within performance as oblique strategies, as points of provocation or evocation, instruction or interruption. I propose to approach the notion of close reading or of an ‘explication de texte’ as a tactic through which to interrogate the performative dimensions of written text, for exploring and developing new strategies for presenting and interrogating language within the context of a performance based practice. Here, close reading is not understood as the critical attention paid to the meaning of words themselves as signs, but is instead interested in those meanings produced by looking at words ‘close up’, through a process of visual magnification or close visual attention. Like conventional forms of close reading, the project focuses on paying close attention to individual words, syntax and the order in which sentences and ideas unfold as they are read or presented, drawing on the Latin origins of the word explicare (as in explication de texte) which means to unfold, to fold out, set forth. The research is concerned with exploring the threshold space where writing or text collapses into its component parts (ink and page), or the point where the sense or legibility of a word is rendered illegible or nonsensical the closer it is attended to, as writing slips towards image. The intent is to rethink the term ‘close reading’ as a specific visual research method, in which language becomes subjected to close microscopic scrutiny through the technologies of film recording and projection.