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 to producing texts parallel to and as art practice. 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.

Seminar: Performing Space (Differently)

I have been invited to deliver a seminar in the School of Architecture, University of Sheffield as part of their PhD research and design programme. Drawing on some of my recent projects and collaborations, I envisage this seminar will explore 2 clusters of activity within my current research which explore various 'tactics' for performing space differently (to expectation, convention or habit):

Image: Emma Cocker, Spatial (inter) relations proposition, Vienna, 2011

Performing Communities: interrogates how participatory performance-based interventions in the public realm can help cultivate models of social agency, sociability or temporary collectivity, in resistance to the increased experience of atomization/individualization within contemporary urban life. It investigates the capacity of participatory performance to intervene in and challenge how the public realm is activated and navigated by producing ‘counter-publics’, new social formations for rehearsing and testing alternative – ethical, political, critical – forms of individual and collective subjectivity. Central to this area of enquiry are my own practice-based collaborations with other artists: including the project Open City; a dialogue between myself, Sara Wookey and Bianca Scliar Mancini following the projects (Un)folding Zagreb (2009) and Movement in the City (Toronto, 2010); and a recent project entitled Spatial (Inter) Relations in collaboration with Nikolaus Gansterer and students at the Institute for Transmedia Art, Vienna where sight-lines (or the practice of ‘throwing a glance’) were interrogated as forms of performative drawing for demarcating (even constituting) temporary forms of collectivity.

Cartographies of Escape: focuses on the relationship between how landscape is lived or performed to the emergence of a critical – resistant – form of subjectivity. It investigates how artistic practice can offer a platform for practicing or rehearsing alternative ‘ways of operating’ to the increasingly limited, prescriptive templates of citizenship perpetuated by and within contemporary neoliberalism. Central to this research cluster are the two prose poems The Yes of the No! (produced as part of the project Summer of Dissent) and Making Room for Manoeuvre; or, Ways of Operating Along the Margins, in Manual for Marginal Places.