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.

Conference Paper: Word Slips Towards Movement and Materiality

My proposed paper 'Between Close Reading and Liquid Writing: Word Slips Towards Movement and Materiality' has been accepted for inclusion in the forthcoming Word into Image Symposium,
10th July 2014: Tactic Gallery, Cork.

About the symposium: Poetry has long constructed itself as an interface between word and image. At the turn of the twentieth century, Mallarmé and Apollinaire’s experiments with visual poetry launched a new investigation into poetry as image, shaping an area of modernist and avant-garde interest that would develop throughout contemporary poetics. Celebrating the interdisciplinary bent of the avant-gardes, this conference will examine the point at which poetry and image meet. Taking in the long twentieth century up to and including current practices, we will invite speakers to interrogate the nature and effect of works that are both word and image.

Areas that papers might explore include: What does it mean to frame poetry as image or image as poetry?; The interdisciplinary poet-artist/artist-poet; The materiality of language; The artistic and political potentials of visual poetics; The poetics of the moving image. The symposium will take place in Tactic Gallery, Cork and will accompany the Word into Image exhibition of visual poetry. The symposium will include a keynote address by Peter Manson “In Stéphane Mallarmé’s late work “Un coup de Dés jamais n’abolira le Hasard”, the white page itself becomes a turbulent and ambiguous medium, at once buoying up words and threatening them with erasure.  For Mallarmé, the space occupied by writing had more than the two dimensions of the (rarely flat) page — a book, after all, is a volume — and every book opened onto an endless series of possible books, authorised by the infinite combinatory potential of the letters of the alphabet.  

Between Close Reading and Liquid Writing: Word Slips Towards Movement and Materiality' 
Drawing on my own practice-based investigations at the threshold between word and image (specifically the visual poetics of Close Reading and Liquid Writing), I propose to explore the affective and asignifying potential of language as it is pressured towards movement and materiality, once words shift towards the condition of still/moving image. In Close Reading, I apply close visual attention to language, looking at the materiality of words ‘close up’ through visual magnification, microscopic observation. Under scrutiny, text can be pressured into its component parts (ink/page), the legibility of a word rendered nonsensical the closer it is attended to, as writing slips towards movement and materiality. Whilst Close Reading explores the material properties of language (rather than its capacity as carrier of ‘meaning’, as sign), Liquid Writing tests the potential for fluid forms of a words-in-motion, a movement-language where fixed signs dissolve towards a condition of liquidity or incipiency. With reference to the theoretical thinking of Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi, Jacques Ranciere, and Erin Manning, I propose to interrogate how the visual poetics of both projects subvert the fixed, transparent regime of signifying language, through strategies of asignification, incipiency and opacity.