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.

Conference: Please Specify!


Together with Nikolaus Gansterer and Mariella Greil, I will be presenting a performative paper at this year's Society of Artistic Research conference, Please Specify!, taking place in Helsinki, 28 -29 April 2017. The paper, Choreographic Figures: On Qualitative Specificity (How-ness) within Artistic Research, provides reflection on our research project Choreographic Figures: Deviations of the Line, and will be accompanied by the launch of our research publication.  

Abstract: Choreo-graphic Figures: Deviations from the Line stages a beyond-disciplinary, inter-subjective encounter between the lines of choreography, drawing and writing, for addressing the how-ness — the qualitative-processual, aesthetic-epistemological and ethico-empathetic dynamics — within shared artistic exploration; requiring a thematic shift of attention from the realm of demarcated disciplinary specificity towards an affective realm of forces and intensities (called figuring) operating before, between and beneath the more readable gestures of artistic practice. Our research explores the relation between the experience of figuring and emergence of figures (the point that figuring coalesces into a specific recognisable form). This performative presentation elaborates the qualitative specificity and constitutive conditions for three groups of figures: (1) Elemental Figures exposition of key moments within the arc of creative endeavour; (2) Empathetic Figures — diagramming of relations and sensitivities of being-with; (3) Transformative Figures identification of explicit shifts in quality or state of being, blurring the line between activity/passivity, subject/object, self/world.

About the Conference: Artistic research is maturing. The period of inauguration characterized by multi-faceted discussions concerning institutional and disciplinary questions has, in many contexts, reached a saturation point. Diverse perspectives have emerged. Artistic research consists of a variety of approaches and solutions and often functions as a multi- and transdisciplinary venture. As a developing multi-methodological research culture artistic research enriches methodological innovation and cross-over projects. Furthermore, research activities are structured with regard to some kind of specificity. A group of researchers might come together to work on a distinct object of study, through a specific question, with a certain methodology, and in a particular context. Depending on circumstances, specificity thus can appear as a socio-cultural parameter, a disciplinary variable or it can become a question of the medium of research. The Please Specify! Conference explores new perspectives on conditions of sharing research in the artistic field. How can specific interests, methods, discourses, positions and ways of knowing be more widely disseminated and made useful within and beyond artistic research? The traditional frameworks for sharing research have been built on ideas about the research object, method, context or medium. We ask if the conditions of sharing research can be thematised in other terms? What if these conditions relate to provocation, excess, limited resources, reduction, mise en abyme, absurd argumentation, populism, conspiracy, amateurism and the like? How do these or other invented specificities inform your take on artistic research? How can these issues be shared?