- emma cocker
- 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.
Below is a draft version of the chapter.
My paper Performing Stillness has been accepted as part of the Performing Publics conference taking place from 9–13 June 2010, Toronto, Canada
PSi 16, Performing Publics, will take place in Toronto as part of a collaboration between York University’s Faculty of Fine Arts and the Ontario College of Art & Design. The conference will investigate the power of performance to intervene in, reshape, and reinvigorate the public sphere at the beginning of the twenty-first century. We invite proposals that take up notions of “public” in a variety of ways, pointing to the critically generative and fraught aspects of the term as it has been adopted within performance studies. The conference will theorize the relationship between performance, “official” public culture (public culture framed and sanctioned by state and/or corporate institutions), and the production of what Michael Warner calls “counter-publics” (social formations developed in opposition to the discourses and interests of the official public sphere). As such, it will explore the coming together of individuals as a social totality – as a community, nation, organization, etc. – and the enactment of public as a form of social activism, as a means of rehearsing, querying, and producing alternative forms of local and global citizenship. In both contexts, performance has the potential to frame affective and critically nuanced responses to public events, issues and crises and thus to model politically and ethically engaged forms of public life. The conference also seeks to problematize the idea of “publics” as it has been applied to performance by exploring the limitations of this term and the kinds of social exclusions that it often has been used to rationalize.Guiding questions will include: How are we hailed by various publics, and how does this shape our behaviors and social interactions? How are publics spatially and temporally constituted? In what ways do publics participate in forms of activism, civic engagement, and “poetic world-making” (Warner)? What affects and effects are produced by such utopian interventions?
I am writing a new essay/article for Dance Theatre Journal that aims to explore some of the shared concerns and connections within three recent exhibitions, Victor Alimpiev’s To Trample Down An Arable Land, at IKON; Johanna Billing’s I'm Lost Without Your Rhythm at Arnolfini gallery, and FrenchMottershead’s Shops project at Site Gallery. In each instance, the work is underpinned by a performance often drawing explicitly on forms of collective choreography or movement or action. In different ways, each of these exhibitions presents an exploration of the relationship between the individual within the collective or community, ideas around social ritual, tensions around participation and the performance or choreography of collectivity.
In the article I am proposing to explore:
* The performance of collectivity (specifically examining the threshold/’fray’ between individual/collective behaviour)
* The space of decision-making in performance (within an art context and also as part of the performance of everyday life)
* The emergence of heterogeneity within collective action (e.g.comparing shoaling with schooling; performative ‘symphony’ with ‘synchronicity’ affinity with conformity).
Images below: Victor Alimpiev and Johanna Billing
I have been commissioned to write an essay as part of FrenchMottershead's forthcoming publication in conjunction with their SHOPS project. The publication is edited by Gerrie Van Noord and will be published in 2010. In the meantime below is an extract from my essay, Social Assemblage.
Below is a version of the text which will be published in the forthcoming SHOPS book, a culmination of the SHOPS project by FrenchMottershead, (published by Site Gallery, 2010)