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 enquiry focuses on the process of artistic endeavour, alongside 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.

Event: Close Reading / Live Writing


Emma Cocker, Close Reading/Live Writing, undertaken as a ‘Seer-in-Residence’.

On Thursday 10 January I undertook a ‘micro-residency’ as a ‘Seer-in-Residence’ at Bonington Gallery, Nottingham in conjunction with the exhibition From Where I Stand I Can See You by Traci Kelly and Rita Marhaug. Along with 3 other researchers (including Jo Lee and Ben Judd who will be "seers" in the coming weeks), I was invited by Traci Kelly to spend time interacting with the exhibition in a way that evokes my own practice and research interests. 

Emma Cocker, Close Reading/Live Writing, undertaken as a ‘Seer-in-Residence’.

I approached the ‘residency’ through the prism of my ongoing Close Readings project. Amongst other things, I performed a ‘close reading’ of Kelly’s work Feeling It For You (Perspective), alongside fragments from a number of texts that seemed to resonate with some of the concerns of the exhibition (listed below), applying close visual attention to both text and image using a microscopic camera (as a live/performative action which will subsequently result in video/text-based work). The texts included: Roland Barthes, ‘The Metaphor of the Eye’, from Georges Bataille, The Story of Eye; Catherine Clémente, ‘Syncope’s Strategies, from Syncope: The Philosophy of Rapture; Hélène Cixous, ‘Writing Blind’, from Stigmata: Escaping Texts; Luce Irigaray, ‘To perceive the invisible in you’, from To Be Two.

Emma Cocker, Close Reading/Live Writing, undertaken as a ‘Seer-in-Residence’.

Whilst the Close Reading series is ongoing, this was a first attempt at staging the process as a live event, which I hope to now develop further within other contexts. The 'Seer-in-Residence' invitation has also enabled me to develop a form of Live Writing (even Live Notation perhaps?) in which live reflections are compiled (see the left-hand screen) and then animated through the repeated scrolling and skimming of the text. Extending from the 'Seer-in-Residence' experience, I hope to develop a video or possible text-work from the Live Writing component, alongside new writing exploring ideas around eclipses, ellipses and ellipsis, and the relationship between ‘seeing’ and ‘reading’. The event was also documented by Julian Hughes, whose photographs will help to reflect the various methods/processes explored during the Seers-in-Residence project within a forthcoming publication.