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.

Conference: On the Epistemic Kinetics of Gesture

Diagramming: from performance lecture by Gansterer, Greil, and Cocker

I will be presenting a performance-lecture (with Nikolaus Gansterer and Mariella Greil) based on our research project Choreo-graphic Figures: Deviations from the Line, as part of the Body Diagrams: On the Epistemic Kinetics of Gesture conference, a symposium on body semiotics at the 14th international Congress of the German Society of Semiotics [DSG] 2014 “Verstehen und Verständigung” [Comprehension and understanding] at the University of Tübingen 23rd  – 27th  September 2014.

Diagramming: from performance lecture by Gansterer, Greil, and Cocker

About the conference panel: Across various disciplines, the epistemic kinetics of manual gestures and other forms of bodily movement typically employed in everyday discourse as well as more specific contexts of meaning-making and knowledge mediation is becoming more and more recognised ... Gesture, posture, and forward movement also assume crucial roles in ascribing meaning to objects and scenes in the visual and performing arts, e.g. design, image, drama, dance, and film. Not limiting gestures to communicative modalities apt to represent objects and actions or to manage social interaction, this conference explores gestures as diagrammatic tools in the dynamic development of human conceptualization and knowledge of the world. Taking into account kinetic, haptic and sensed qualities of meaningful experience and expression, the guiding assumption is that concrete body diagrams do not merely represent and reproduce, but first and foremost bring about, transform and constitute ideas and understanding in action-perception cycles. 

Diagramming: Mariella Greil, Emma Cocker, and Gerhard Dirmoser

Bodily practices of interest include manual and full-body gestures of indicating, pointing, placing and positioning, gestures of seizing, capturing, articulating and explicating; gestures of drawing, graphing, underlining, labeling and delimiting; gestures of (re- and dis-)placement and expansion, gestures of opening and resistance of the body, gestures of linking, relation and correlation, merging, grouping and splitting, gestures of schematization, gestures of creation, performance and displaying, that is, gestures that generally instill coherence, understanding, and meaning. While acknowledging the fact that such gestural diagrams may indeed trace relations or constellations already experienced or learned, by relating gesture and diagram, however, our main aim is to explore their creative potential and epistemic functions, that is, ways in which body diagrams may serve to sense, trigger and establish new thoughts, connections and conceptual/semiotic structures.