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.

Artists' publication: Above and Beyond

Over the last couple of years, I have been working with artist Rose Butler to develop a collaborative artists’ bookwork which is published this week.

We are told that there is no outside, that to make one’s resistance visible exposes it to control. Still, ways to resist must persist, for the imagining of a future otherwise. Pro-test then — test the system to its limits through the advance of experimental means; cultivate one’s disobedience as an aesthetic practice. Towards a resistant poetics of reorientation — tilt of experience on its axis such that it can be thought anew; radical reorganisation of attention above and beyond the conditions of surveillance and subjugation.

Above and Beyond is a dialogue between artist Rose Butler and writer-artist Emma Cocker reflecting on the interplay between surveillance and resistance; how technologies and techniques of capture might be subverted, transformed into experimental tactics of protest and dissent. The publication was developed through a process of conversation between Butler and Cocker taking place over a number of years (2015—2018), a period marked by substantial political shifts and humanitarian crisis, an unprecedented increase in surveillance and security control.

This collaborative artists’ publication is conceived in response to  Come and Go (see stills above), a dual screen interactive artwork by Rose Butler that takes Edison’s early films of the Serpentine Dance as its reference with the dance phrases filmed from above.

Images . . . . . . . . . . . . . Rose Butler
Text . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Emma Cocker
Choreographer . . . . . Alexander Whitley
Dancer . . . . . . . . . . . . . Natalie Allen
Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Joff and Ollie