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: Live Writing (Feeling it for You)

“The essence of language is to be articulated. Such articulations can be as smooth as one wishes; they are no less divisive for all that. In order to language to function, signs must be isolable one from the other (otherwise they would not be repeatable), At every level (phonetic, semantic, syntactic, and so on) language has its own laws of combination and continuity, but its primary material is constructed of irreducible atoms (phonemes for spoken language, and for written, signs whose nature varies according to the system in question: in alphabetic writing, for example, the distinctive unit is the letter). Whoever says ‘articulation’ always says, in the final instance, ‘divisible into minimal units’: the articulus is the particle. Language is the hierarchical combination of bits. Liquid, on the contrary … is indivisible” Yve Alain Bois, 'Liquid Words', in Formless: A Users Guide, p124.

Tests from a series of new ‘Live Writings’ generated from my experience as ‘Seer-in-Residence’ (see posts below). Live Writing  (working title) is a new method of producing writing that I am currently playing with, provoked specifically through my experience as a Seer-in-Residence. Still very much a working approach at present, my intent is to explore the possibility of a form of live writing operating at the nascent point of words coming into being before collapsing, where language appears somehow reluctant to become solidified into coherent sentences or legible meaning.

As with the Close Readings, I am considering how strategies of skimming and the visual encounter with words 'close up' produces other kinds of meaning, where words are not always distinguishable as discrete signifying units, but instead appear liquid, their sense blurred. I am thinking about the possibility of a language for reflecting the not-quite-seen or captured, for reflecting the sense of the glimpsed. Visually, the live writings perhaps point to these moments of blindness within perception, to ellipses and eclipses within witnessing, rendered as a not-yet of language punctured through with gaps and holes. 

Emma Cocker, Live Writing (Feeling it for You)

Presented as a poem or even score of sorts, the live writings perhaps also intimate towards the possibility of reading or vocalisation. Blindness becomes breathlessness; the not being-able-to-fully-grasp of language articulated through syncopated speech-acts, assemblages of plosive phonemes and vowel sounds, of hyperventilations and gasps.  

My experience of the Seers-in-Residence project has also provoked me to think a little more about the relation  between eclipses and ellipsis, which I now hope to develop further through new visual/textual work (for example see test below) and new writing. Both eclipses and ellipsis indicate towards an obscuring, something hidden from view. Ékleipsis — an ancient Greek word referring to a state of abandonment or downfall, the ceasing of something to exist. Élleipsis — an omission. Falling short … the dot dot dot that marks the space of awkward silence or of momentary pausing, the removal of extraneous detail, the dissipation of unfinished thought.

Emma Cocker, Eclipsing Ellipsis, 2013
Emma Cocker, Eclipsing Ellipsis, 2013