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.

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.