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.

Exhibition/Project: UNFIXED

Image: Rachel Lois Clapham and Emma Cocker, Re- (UNFIXED), 2010


2nd December—4th December '10
Reading for Reading's Sake is an ongoing platform for a discursive series of events that shift in geographical and conjectural location with each installment.

Flat Time House is pleased to host a weekend of events organised by Reading for Reading's Sake with David Berridge, Maurice Carlin, Rachel Lois Clapham and Emma Cocker, Patrick Coyle, Ella Finer, John Hill, Helen Kaplinsky and Stefan Sulzer

To read is to absorb, comprehend, determine and evaluate. These processes come to pass not only in the interpretation of a text, but in the perception of any given material. All material is data to be read, accordingly all material is privy to the particular positioning of a participant within a given time and space. 

John Latham understood books as symbols of fixed knowledge. The printed word, inscribed for its purpose in a particular moment lays unchanged, whilst the universe moves on regardless. How can artists reactivate the fixedness of publications and make the words move with the universe?

Contributors to the programme work with an attention to the publicness and privateness of any given reading moment and the activation therein. Certain discourses reappear across works in the show, most prominently: collectivity and singularity, text as score, pedagogy, haptic gestures, instruction and fallibility, displaced words, the mediation of one text with another, dissemination, dialogue, bodies of knowledge, publishing as performance, and the fixedness of the printed word. 

Rachel Lois Clapham and Emma Cocker

Re – is an ongoing, iterative performance reading that presses on two writers – and two writing practices – coming together to explore process, product and performance (of text). For UNFIXEDRachel Lois Clapham and Emma Cocker present a re-iteration of Re – that essays the relationship between performance/document, live/recording, writing/written through the collision of spoken, textual and gestural languages. This re-staging (of a previous performance, Re – Afterlive) attempts to re-activate or unfix how the performance document functions, where the disparate parts or fragments of documentation inevitably begin to fall out of sync, creating the potential for new connections and relations between the different elements of the work. Presented side-by-side, two monitors relay fragments of a performance, two facets of the same event rubbing up against one another: the promise of dialogue. A live spoken text fluctuates in and out of the installation – sometimes as a scheduled reading for an audience, at times unannounced, on other occasions silently – at first attempting to synchronize with the elements presented on the monitors, but gradually failing to keep pace over time.


Thursday 2 December 6 - 9pm

6pm Launch of GO WITH ME
Library of offprints * run by Helen Kaplinsky and Maurice Carlin

7pm Performances by David Berridge, Patrick Coyle, Ella Finer and John Hill

*An offprint is an excerpt from a larger publication. Please bring an offprint to donate to the library along with an instruction for reading to accompany this. Visitors are invited to borrow offprints from the library over the weekend. On Saturday afternoon there will be a discussion of readings made over the period of the show. Donations to the library will be taken throughout December

Friday 3 December 12 - 6pm

2pm Flat Time Seminar A discussion of John Latham's theoretical writings with Flat Time House's Mental Furniture Department

3.30pm Reading as Publishing Workshop and presentation by David Berridge

Saturday 4 December 12 - 6pm

2pm Screening of Stefan Sulzer's project The Reading Room
3pm Re - (Unfixed) A reading by Rachel Lois Clapham and Emma Cocker

4pm GO WITH ME drop in reading group to return and discuss texts in the library

Events are free and open to all. To RSVP for a specific event and for reading lists please contact info@flattimeho.org.uk

Over the past year Reading for Readings Sake have organised a series of symposia focused on reading, through artistic practice. Over 20 programmed events have taken place at venues including Spike Island, Bristol, Islington Mill, Salford 

Publication: Permission Granted

My essay Permission Granted has been accepted for a forthcoming issue of the online journal, Drain, focusing on the theme of Power.

Excerpt from Permission Granted ….
"This text is a reflective meditation on the power of a form of invitational yes that can be witnessed at play within certain art practices. It is an interruptive and potentially dissident species of affirmation that has a specifically inceptive function: provoking a form of thinking and being differently. This yes is an act of recognition, of being able to attest to or accept the existence of what had previously remained hidden or undeclared. It is the speech act of the witness whose testimony cannot deny what they have seen, that cannot be denied. Or else it can be experienced akin to the clearing at a film’s denouement when things suddenly fall into place; a flash of inspiration or illumination visualized as a light bulb being switched on, the Eureka moment of discovery or breakthrough. Yes signals a state of having found it, of having attained the telos sought. Yet, yes might also describe a gradual awakening or sensitizing towards that which has been ignored or unnoticed or has hitherto remained invisible, a sense of raising awareness or the finding of something that had not been consciously pursued. Another yes then, akin to the nascent clarity forming from within the mists of some dissipating fog. A form of affirmation that emerges hesitantly at first, where the declarative stalls to make space for a less than wholly certain yes, the slow ‘oh, yes’ whispered by the curious attending as events unfurl or are unraveled. This is a yes that requires some prompting, needing to be drawn out or persuaded, coaxed. Wavering at the edges of no, this yes requires the making of a commitment before knowing what that commitment will require. It asks for a leap before looking, a statement of conviction or of confidence made in the doubtful space before things have been fully resolved or worked through. Indeed, the yes of this particular text needed some provocation, some incitement; it had to be called. However, the call that invites or invokes the as-yet-unknown yes is not like the authoritative power whose permission sanctions only the already known or knowable, but rather operates itself as a form of affirmation. It is a hopeful yes that scarifies the ground, creating germinal conditions within which the unexpected might arise; it wishes to be surprised. The yes that invites rather than endorses is a call to action; it signals towards the possibility of an insurgent form of affirmation. Come on then! What are you waiting for!"

Background to Drain (Issue: Power)
This issue of Drain attempts to expose the cultural faciality of power, as well as manifestations of power as simulacra, which obfuscate traditional inquiries into its construction.  If power connects the virtual and the actual, how does cultural creativity channel or destabilize this connectivity? The corporate-academic-entertainment-military-industrial complex and its front-end, the global information machine floods us with images, and images of images, to cause sensory overload, and yet at the same time, acute sensory deprivation. Most of all, power entrenches a visual literacy that allows us to see only its style, leaving us unable to access other ways of seeing and becoming. How can we parody this visual literacy, and the speed, cadence and grammar of this power and its affects? If the simulation of power is necessary and absolute, can creative acts and molecular politics slip through the surveillance and desensitizing of territorializing systems? This issue of Drain invites artwork, papers, and other creative works to actualize answers to these questions and re-channel them into different connectivities, ways of becoming and conceptual production.

Publication: Field Notes - Extracts from an Event

Below are the PDF layouts of two text works, Field Notes: Extracts from an Event and Pay Attention to the Footnotes, which have both been commissioned for the publication, The Edge of Europe. Both works offer different responses to aspects of the ANTI festival in Kuopio, which I attended in September and October. Field Notes: Extracts from an Event is a 'partial' report on the ANTI festival seminar, Writing, Language and Site, Kuopio, 2010, which attempts to capture something of 'what was in the air' rather than presenting an accurate account of the seminar proceedings. Pay Attention to the Footnotes presents a series of postcards documented during the timeframe of ANTI festival, Kuopio, Finland 29th September – 3rd October. The documentation attempts to provide a tangential record of the festival, whilst testing a project conceived in relation to urban city space against the site-specificity of Kuopio.

More to follow soon.

Exhibition: Not Ready Yet

I have been invited to be part of an exhibition curated by Niki Russell entitled Not Ready Yet

Not ready yet

Tomas Chaffe, Emma Cocker, Tom Godfrey, John Plowman

16th January -  6th February 2011

This project acts in a form of 'willful irresolution'; it is not made ready in advance for a particular purpose. Housed within the extant architecture of the shop unit, this is a space in transition, between uses, and bearing its previous form before this is ripped out and re-fitted. We inhabit this space and rehearse a use, that is neither shop nor exhibition, but between uses. Physically and temporally they unfold within this space. Taped windows, a corridor, the option to go downstairs, 84 potential archives, removed mirrors and doors, newly installed 'cubicles', framed documents not quite complete, the option to return to the space later to access further parts of the space. Individual¹s presence, potential readings and objects weave together, and punctuate the space in different ways. There is an exchange of roles and practical purpose within the space. An ongoing expectancy provides the conditions of the project: expectancy that access provides something, expectancy of closure, expectancy that the shop might explode.

Not ready yet is curated by Niki Russell, and is the final chapter in a series of exhibitions and events in The Exchange Building, entitled 'Nottingham Studios Presents'

Preview Sunday 16th January 2011 14:00-17:00

Opening times Wednesday - Saturday 12:00 - 18:00 & Sunday 12:00 - 17:00

Location: 5 Smithy Row, The Exchange Building, Nottingham NG1 2DD

I am hoping that this might provide a context for further exploring certain ideas that have been emerging in recent projects around rehearsal, (un)timeliness, (un)readiness, futurity, kairos.

Proposal for Not Ready Yet

Oh, When: a research residency and archive
The extant architecture of a disused shop unit is approached as an empty or expectant structure, a thinking space for exploring the relationship between rehearsal and irresolution, for developing a nascent vocabulary to speak of the not-yet-ready. Redundant or disused shelves and storage units are considered as a found archival system, into which a not-yet-known body of research is called or invited. A research residency is proposed within the time-space of an exhibition, the details of which remain undeclared or unspecified; its direction unfolding only as the exhibition evolves. 

The attempt to archive or account for something that remains willfully unresolved or unready necessarily emerges as a somewhat absurd, impossible or endless task. Henri Lefebvre asks, “How many maps, in the descriptive or geographical sense, might be needed to deal exhaustively with a given space, to code and decode all its meanings and contents?” For the shifting terrain of 'unreadiness' or 'irresolution', the number of maps must necessarily remain infinite. 

More to follow soon.

Publication: Hives, Tribes, Assemblages: New Collectivities

My essay ‘R.S.V.P. Choreographing Collectivity through Invitation and Response’ has been accepted for a forthcoming issue of the online journal Rhizomes, entitled Hives, Tribes, Assemblages: New Collectivities.

Hives, Tribes, Assemblages: New Collectivities
In introducing A Thousand Plateaus Deleuze and Guattari famously quipped: "The two of us wrote Anti-Oedipus together. Since each of us was several, there was already quite a crowd." And matters only get more congested as their mental geography unfolds among landscapes traversed by herds, swarms, bands, gangs, hoards, flocks, packs, masses and multiple other collective becomings. This special issue of Rhizomes invites essays and multimodal works that consider new manifestations of and approaches to collectively, community or other multiplicities—whether inspired by Deleuze & Guattari or not. Topics might include: intentional (or unintentional) communities; queer convergences; revolutionary congregations; posthuman aggregations; cross-species collaborations; symbiogeneses; collective intelligence; fan groups and other bolos of shared enthusiasms; flash mobs; clown armies; temporary activist assemblies; sleeper cells; conspiracies and other collective panic attacks; lodges; covens; communes; clubs; colonies; coalitions; digital swarms; tribalisms; hive minds; distributed contagions; panarchies; new ecological assemblages.
Background to Rhizomes journal
Rhizomes oppose the idea that knowledge must grow in a tree structure from previously accepted ideas. New thinking need not follow established patterns. Rhizomes promotes experimental work located outside current disciplines, work that has no proper location. 

Text-work: Field Proposals for an Indeterminate Place

I am currently developing a new version of Field Proposals as a site-responsive proposal for Barrow-in-Furness as part of the project Urban Retreat. This new work entitled Field Proposals for an Indeterminate Place (No Longer and Not Yet) responds to the specific geographical and conceptual terrain encountered during a series of visits to Barrow-in-Furness. This mapping will also operate as a working model or drawing board for a piece of new writing as part of the publication Manual for Marginal Places, a project developed by artist Sophie Mellor.