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.

Reading Group: Affect

In partnership with If I Can't Dance I Don't Want to be Part of Your Revolution,  I will be hosting a series of reading group discussions at Site Gallery in Sheffield, for exploring a number of texts relating to the notion of AFFECT. Often used interchangeably with the experience of feeling or emotion, this term can also describe an individual’s capacity to affect others and in turn to be affected by them. Affect was a key concern underpinning the citywide festival Art Sheffield 2010 – Life: A User’s Manual. The reading group forms part of the wider programme of events relating to the forthcoming solo exhibition at Site by Jeremiah Day

There will be more information about the reading groups here.

Background to the reading group.

If I Can’t Dance’s Reading Group is a gathering of artists, critical thinkers, writers and various other readers from in and outside the field of contemporary art, who come together once a month to discuss new topics and directions in performative art practice and their relation to social and political issues. If I Can’t Dance’s current field of research is the notion of affect, which can be read in the light of our continuing investigations into the construction of subjectivity and the politics of identity. It builds on those intellectual paradigms such as performativity, theatricality and feminism(s), all of which have emerged from the activity of If I Can’t Dance over the last years

If I Can’t Dance, I Don’t Want To Be Part Of Your Revolution produces art works and thematic programmes. Departing from a spirit of open questioning and long term enquiry with artists, If I Can’t Dance is dedicated to exploring the evolution and typology of performance and performativity in contemporary art.

Research: Be Prepared

"Precepts are not given for the sake of being practised, but practice is prescribed in order that precepts may be understood. They are scales. One does not play Bach without having done scales. But neither does one play a scale merely for the sake of the scale", Simone Weil, 'Training' in Gravity and Grace, pp.123 - 124.

I am currently working on a number of conference papers that take as their point of departure the boy scout motto, be prepared; interrogating what it might mean to be prepared or to prepare oneself as a critical - rather than obedient and acquiescent - citizen or subject. For example, my paper, Be Prepared - Practices for Performing the Self Differently has been selected as part of the forthcoming PSi 18 conference on Performance, Culture, Industry, taking place at the University of Leeds from 27 June – 1 July. I will be presenting as part of a strand exploring training, labour and innovation.

Be Prepared - Practices for Performing the Self Differently

Short abstract: This paper considers the relation of training, labour and innovation against Michel Foucault’s imperative to ‘make life into a work of art’. It explores how various art and literary examples might present as a set of guidelines or principles for producing the self differently, as possible ‘techniques of the self’.

Full Abstract: Various philosophers have advocated the necessity of viewing life as a kind of project or mode of invention, suggesting that one’s ‘style of life’ or ‘ways of existing’ might be produced differently to habitual expectation. Positioned as a speculative proposition (drawing on my practice-based involvement in various art projects), this paper considers the relation of training, labour and innovation against Michel Foucault’s philosophical imperative towards the ‘making of life into a work of art’. In the Hermeneutics of the Subject and The Care of the Self Foucault turns to Ancient Greece to excavate and elaborate a programme of practices related to the precept ‘care of the self’ (epimelesthai sautou). For Foucault, the ‘techniques of the self’ or ‘arts of existence’ take the form of ‘those reflective and voluntary practices by which men not only set themselves rules of conduct, but seek to transform themselves, to change themselves’.1 In Ancient Greek culture, such techniques formed a training manual or programme (for mind and body) through which a more critical, ethical formulation of subjectivity and citizenship could be prepared, practiced, performed. In the absence of the necessary cultural, ethical, even civic framework for resurrecting the specificity of this Ancient training, this paper (perhaps playfully) turns to various art, performance and literary examples, exploring how they might present as a set of guidelines or principles for producing the self differently, as possible techniques of the self. The paper purposefully travels an errant line, drawing the direct encounters of my own practice-based enquiry and collaborations into dialogue with diverse references (the art of techné, Montaigne’s Essays; Fluxus scores; Georges Perec’s guides; Baden-Powell’s Scouting for Boys). I explore how the act of transforming oneself as a critical subject requires the cultivation of self-initiated tests, trials and ‘tactics’ that encourage transition away from repressive social norms; where to produce or construct oneself differently involves performing one’s life in the subjunctive key of as if, the practicing or rehearsal of a life as otherwise.

1. Michel Foucault, The Use of Pleasure. The History of Sexuality: Volume Two. Tr. R. Hurley. (Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin, 1992/1984), pp. 10 11.

Project/Collaboration: Tacturiency

Tacturiency - the desire of touching, to touch, to be touched [fr. L. tangere, to touch]. An unfurling collaboration with Clare Thornton for exploring touch, folding, fainting, falling, failing … more to follow.

Performance: Drawing on Drawing a Hypothesis (III)

On 23 November 2011, Nikolaus Gansterer and Emma Cocker presented the third iteration of their performance lecture Drawing on Drawing a Hypothesis at the Kunsthalle Project Space in Vienna. Previous iterations of the lecture took place at (Part I) M HKA, Antwerp and (Part II) KNAW. A further iteration of the work will take place in Berlin (February 2012). Below are some images from the launch event and from the performance-lecture (Chapters I - VI).

Publication Launch: COPY/Unfold

COPY/UNFOLD (a Critical Writing Collective publicationwill be launched at S1 Studios Sheffield on 3 December 2011, with an introduction to the publication from Charlotte Morgan, Joanna Loveday and the designers Dust Collective, alongside contributors to the publication including myself, Daniel Fogarty, Joanna Loveday, JDA Winslow & Paul Wright.

As part of this event, I presented some ideas about close reading, performed against the context of my short video (C.O, P.V, 1950) from the Close Reading project.

"Through the practice of close reading, language can be made to stretch or pucker, ruche or fray. With experience, it can be pulled thin and sheer as delicate gauze or gathered up into thick and impenetrable creases. Under scrutiny, text can be pressured into its component parts (of ink and page), the sense or legibility of a word rendered nonsensical the closer it is attended to, as writing slips towards image, as meaning dissipates into pleats and folds. Close Reading investigates the practice of close reading or of explication de texte as a critical tool for destabilizing the linear unfolding of a text into discontinuous fragments. This series investigates how paying close attention to language does not always fix or clarify a single, stable meaning, but perhaps counter-intuitively produces further uncertainty, indeterminacy and formlessness. Here, the more something becomes scrutinized the less it becomes known. Like conventional forms of close reading, this work focuses on paying attention to individual words and the order in which sentences and ideas unfold as they are read or presented, drawing on the Latin origins of the word explicare which means to unfold, to fold out, to set forth. However, critical attention is not paid to the meaning of words themselves as signs, but to those other meanings produced by looking at the materiality of words ‘close up’, through processes of visual magnification or microscopic observation. Close Reading inhabits the space between page and screen, existing as a series of short video works and composite poems constructed (almost through chance) from screen-grabs gleaned from the video editing process. I am uncertain whether the video is a byproduct or residue of the production of the text or vice versa, or whether both produce and are produced by each other simultaneously. As a writer, I am increasingly interested in the discrepancy between the temporal and spatial dimensions of writing, where the time that it takes to write words is condensed into the space that they occupy once ordered into line. The wrestle of how the words got there will soon be forgotten. Close Reading takes the temporal event of a text unfolding before a camera, and collapses it into the spatial form of a page. The translation from moving image to still reveals an entirely different grammar to that encountered in the video. The movement or unfolding of the video is pushed back as though behind the surface of the page, perhaps still imaginable as a loop stitch whose content remains latent within the work, rather than a visible part. Through these close readings, the time of reading one text becomes folded into the space of making another". 

Event: Process & Repetition - Hanne Darboven and Raphael Hefti

Sunrise/Sunset (installation view), 1984
385 sheets of paper, felt pen, postcards. 
Courtesy Camden Arts Centre and Konrad Fischer Galerie
I have been invited to introduce the forthcoming exhibitions by Hanne Darboven and Raphael Hefti at Camden Arts Centre, 20 January 2012 - 18 March 2012. Involving a dialogue with Raphael Hefti, the introduction will explore connections and points of resonance between the two artists’ work (as well as drawing on some of the ideas underpinning my own research including texts such as Over and Over Again and Again). This will be the first solo exhibition by Darboven in the UK and will feature a number of her large scale serial works which focus on the passage and structuring of time. These vast installations are formed of hand drawn notations and numbers, musical scores and texts which are sometimes accompanied by images and objects. It will also be Hefti’s first solo show in the UK and in this new work he will approach his investigations from a specific tangent: discovering mistakes in industrial processes and pushing them to a limit where aesthetic transformations take place.

Writing: Cartographies of Escape

Over the last year I have been working on a number of interrelated book chapters as part of a cluster of research which I am entitling Cartographies of Escape. This cluster of research investigates how artistic practice can offer a platform for practicing or rehearsing alternative ‘ways of operating’ to the increasingly limited, prescriptive templates of citizenship perpetuated by and within contemporary neoliberalism. Chapters include 'Towards an Emergent Knowledge of the Margins' which is going to be published in the forthcoming Emerging Landscapes: Between Production and Representation, (ed.) Eugenie Shinkle, (Ashgate Publishing, 2012); 'Border Crossings: Practices for Beating the Bounds', which will be published in Liminal Landscapes (eds.) Hazel Andrews and Les Roberts, (Routledge, 2012) and 'Looking for Loopholes- The Cartography of Escape' which will be published in The Cartographical Necessity of Exile, (ed.) Karen Bishop, which attempts to conceive of a form of elective exile manifesting as a search for (temporal) loopholes or moments of porosity within a given system or structure. More on these publications soon.

Performance: Drawing on Drawing a Hypothesis (Part 2)

On 27 October 2011, Nikolaus Gansterer and Emma Cocker presented the second iteration of their performance lecture Drawing on Drawing a Hypothesis at KNAW in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Previous iterations of the lecture took place at (Part 1) M HKA, Antwerp. The performance lecture took place in the old meeting room of the Trippenhuis Building, home to the Royal Netherlands Society of Arts and Science. The event also included a short lecture by art-historian Susanne Leeb on the materiality of the diagram, extending ideas from within her chapter in the publication Drawing a Hypothesis: Figures of Research (ed.) Nikolaus Gansterer, (Springer, 2011). The next book launch and iteration of the performance-lecture will take place on 23 Nov at the Kunsthalle Project Space, Vienna. Below are a couple of images of the event at the Trippenhuis, Amsterdam.

Drawing on Drawing a Hypothesis: Nikolaus Gansterer introducing the event
Drawing on Drawing a Hypothesis: pre-performance
Drawing on Drawing a Hypothesis: performance-lecture Emma Cocker and Nikolaus Gansterer

Drawing on Drawing a Hypothesis: performance-lecture Emma Cocker and Nikolaus Gansterer
Drawing a Hypothesis: book launch in the Rembrandt Room, Trippenhuis, Amsterdam

Project: From Where I Stand I can See You

I have been invited to be a ‘Seer-in-Residence’ as part of a project in development called From Where I Stand I can See You which brings together the practices of UK based artist Traci Kelly and Norway based Rita Marhaug. A number of Seers-in-Residence will be involved in responding to Kelly’s component within this project, addressing her work through the specific prism of his or her own practice and interests. An initial conversation with Kelly suggests potential for exploring ideas emerging from the terms ellipsis and eclipse. More to follow soon.

Project: Dumb Fixity

Over the next year, I am planning to work with artists McCormack+Gent in relation to their ongoing project, Dumb Fixity, with the view to (hopefully) developing some new writing.  
Dumb Fixity arose from a desire to measure an abstract set of phenomena, working on the premise that things can speak and to find a means of hearing what they are telling us. The first question was how we could negate the subjective interpretations of our human perspective, if we could transcend our human desire to name, label, and categorise matter and meaning. 

The answer was that it is impossible: there is no avoiding our disadvantaged position of being human; we cannot escape comprehending and defining the world through our language. How then do we hear a shared language of the mountain, the fox or the lamp? We had to take another tack. This investigation is a process of fixity, an attempt to plot the proximities, connections, and allegiances of things, and trace the associations of their auras.” McCormack+Gent

Research: Practices for Thinking (Oneself) Differently

“You see, that’s why I really work like a dog, and I worked like a dog all my life. I am not interested in the academic status of what I am doing, because my problem is my own transformation […] This transformation of oneself by one’s own knowledge is, I think, something rather close to an aesthetic experience”. Michel Foucault, ‘An Interview by Stephen Riggins’, Ethics, Subjectivity and Truth. Essential Works of Michel Foucault 1954-1984, Volume 1, (ed.) Paul Rabinow, (New York, The New Press, 1997), p.131.

Developing some of the ideas generated within recent projects and publications, I am currently working on a new phase of research which explores the triangulation of (A) certain philosophies of subjectivity (the concept of ‘making life into a work of art’); (B) various tactical practices (affective, embodied ‘ways of operating’ drawn largely from contemporary art contexts) and (C) reflections on the knowledge(s) produced therein (specifically an exploration of techné).  I am interested in approaching the (art) research process as an affirmative practice for thinking (oneself) differently, thinking about certain forms of artistic research and practice as ‘tactics’ or ‘ways of operating’ for producing a critical form of subjectivity, part of a wider process of subjectivization. Purposefully shifting from thinking of research as determined within and by the (narrow) terms of an academic ‘project’ (perhaps as defined by the more instrumentalized and commodified conceptualizations of research within academia) I want to develop an understanding of the research process as a live and lived enquiry, considering it in analogous terms to or as a manifestation of the philosophical project of ‘making life into a work of art’ (Foucault). My intent is to move from viewing research as the teleological pursuit of knowledge, a linear and outcome-driven process catalyzed by the identification of questions to which conclusions are subsequently sought. Instead, I will consider research as an expression of ‘conatus’ (Spinoza) or of the ‘enquiring of the enquirer (Badiou) where the search or striving of its endeavor (rather than its outputs or contribution to knowledge) is recuperated critical value. Here, a subject is not what is studied at a distance but rather what is performed or enacted through the research itself.'   
Over the next year or so, I will be exploring projects and collaborations which help to interrogate these concerns further. More on this to follow soon.

Seminar: Performing Space (Differently)

I have been invited to deliver a seminar in the School of Architecture, University of Sheffield as part of their PhD research and design programme. Drawing on some of my recent projects and collaborations, I envisage this seminar will explore 2 clusters of activity within my current research which explore various 'tactics' for performing space differently (to expectation, convention or habit):

Image: Emma Cocker, Spatial (inter) relations proposition, Vienna, 2011

Performing Communities: interrogates how participatory performance-based interventions in the public realm can help cultivate models of social agency, sociability or temporary collectivity, in resistance to the increased experience of atomization/individualization within contemporary urban life. It investigates the capacity of participatory performance to intervene in and challenge how the public realm is activated and navigated by producing ‘counter-publics’, new social formations for rehearsing and testing alternative – ethical, political, critical – forms of individual and collective subjectivity. Central to this area of enquiry are my own practice-based collaborations with other artists: including the project Open City; a dialogue between myself, Sara Wookey and Bianca Scliar Mancini following the projects (Un)folding Zagreb (2009) and Movement in the City (Toronto, 2010); and a recent project entitled Spatial (Inter) Relations in collaboration with Nikolaus Gansterer and students at the Institute for Transmedia Art, Vienna where sight-lines (or the practice of ‘throwing a glance’) were interrogated as forms of performative drawing for demarcating (even constituting) temporary forms of collectivity.

Cartographies of Escape: focuses on the relationship between how landscape is lived or performed to the emergence of a critical – resistant – form of subjectivity. It investigates how artistic practice can offer a platform for practicing or rehearsing alternative ‘ways of operating’ to the increasingly limited, prescriptive templates of citizenship perpetuated by and within contemporary neoliberalism. Central to this research cluster are the two prose poems The Yes of the No! (produced as part of the project Summer of Dissent) and Making Room for Manoeuvre; or, Ways of Operating Along the Margins, in Manual for Marginal Places. 

Publication: occursus - Dis/con/sensus

I am contributing a text to the forthcoming occursus publication –  a collection of responses by artists, writers and researchers to certain themes which emerged in the course of the last series of occursus’ Reading Loop. The book will be divided into themes; these are: ‘Spandrels’, ‘Re-visiting’, ‘Dis/con/sensus’, ‘Copying’, ‘Foam’ and ‘Animality’. My text will be included in the section 'Dis/con/sensus’ edited by Amanda Crawley-Jackson.

Amanda's introduction to the section reads as follows:

“Politics is litigious. It is a deviation from the normal order of things. It is a denaturalising gesture, a rupture and an interruption. (See Jacques Rancière, Dissensus).
Politics is dissensus. Consensus is the loss of thought. It is politics understood as the affair of government. The futility of noisy protests that everyone agrees with…? (That leads to more consensus.) Art as a means of disclosing the ‘necessary’ and ‘inevitable’ as contingent? (See Mark Fisher, Capitalist Realism, p. 16). The denaturalising function of art. What constitutes consensus and dissent today? In what forms are they practised? What kinds of sociality do they entail? Doing is a torrent against all enclosure. Our power to do things differently, our power to create a different world, is a flow that exerts a growing force against the walls that hem us in, a constant breaching of these walls. Capital runs around mending these breaches (granting land reforms, redefining the norms of sexuality, for example), but the flow of our power will not be contained, simply because our collective life depends on it. (John Holloway, Crack Capitalism, p. 261). What are the links between art and politics? Is art (and can it be) political? Does it do? What is the place of the university? Is the university a consenting or dissenting institution?

dissent (vb): early 15c., from L. dissentire ”differ in sentiments, disagree, be at odds, contradict, quarrel,” from dis- ”differently” (see dis-) + sentire ”to feel, think” (seesense). Related: Dissented; dissenting.
dissension (n): early 14c., from O.Fr. dissension (12c.) and directly from L. dissensionem (nom. dissensio) “disagreement, difference of opinion, discord, strife,” noun of action from pp. stem of dissentire ”disagree”
consensus (n): 1854 as a term in physiology; 1861 of persons; from L. consensus ”agreement, accord,” pp. of consentire (see consent). There is an isolated instance of the word from 1633.” 

Event: Spike Associates

Artist Katie Davies in her studio. Photograph: Stuart Whipps.

I have been invited by Spike Associates to lead a critical discussion around an exhibition of new work by artist Katie Davies, at Motorcade/Flashparade, an independently run gallery in Bristol. I have worked with Katie previously, as part of her residency at the town hall in Sheffield, which resulted in my production of the text, The Shimmering of the Tipping Point. Central to this text, and to Katie’s work more broadly, are ideas around liminality, the notion of the artist as initiate, and a focus on specific communities inhabiting particular kinds of threshold state or space.

Background to Katie’s practice: ‘Exploring observational documentary narrative, Katie Davies works by establishing professional associations to institutions and individuals in order to critique the relationship between the individual and the system within which they operate. Davies is at times part and not part of the groups featured in her work. Her practice often seems to point to or reflect upon the idea of a threshold, examining the nature of the indistinguishable zones and in-between states, or on spaces that are in some way betwixt.’ See http://www.katiedavies.com/

Publication: Power

I have two texts in the forthcoming issue of DRAIN magazine on Power, Vol. 8, No. 1, 2011

Yoko Ono, Fly Piece, 1963.

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; an interruptive and potentially dissident species of affirmation that has a specifically inceptive function, for provoking a form of thinking and being differently. Permission Granted extends the ideas of a short pamphlet, ‘The Yes of the No!’, that I produced following a writing residency at the artist-led project Plan 9 in Bristol, during their Summer of Dissent, 2009. The original text of ‘The Yes of the No!’ is also being published in this issue of Drain.

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?


Feature Essay
The Clutter Assemblage – Ian Buchanan
Permission Granted – Emma Cocker
CLEAN – Looking at War – Chris Revelle
Interview with Andy Roche, ‘On Psychedelia’ – Alexander Stewart
Interview with Blazo Kovacevic – Bertha Husband
Creative Writing
Paper Army – Camille Meyer
Power/Collaboration – BT Shaw and Elizabeth Lopeman
Great North – Vanessa Norton
The Yes of the No! – Emma Cocker
Cross Cultural Exchanges in Imperial and Global India – Morgan Campbell
Feature Artist
Necropolis – Roi Kuper
Art Projects
GWOTEM – Jamie Badoud
Duration – Diana Heise
Criminals (Rio de Janeiro) – Cyrico Lopes
Clean Battlefield – Bob Paris
The Gift of Giving – Oscar Perez

Performance: Drawing on Drawing a Hypothesis (Part 1)

A performance lecture by Nikolaus Gansterer and Emma Cocker
M HKA, Antwerp, 22 September 2010

On the occasion of the launch of Drawing a Hypothesis: Figures of Research (Springer Verlag, 2011) Nikolaus Gansterer in collaboration with writer Emma Cocker present a performance lecture that draws on the publication. Using processes of cross-reading and live drawing, their performance lecture approaches the publication as a reader might thumb through a book; where certain sections appear to be lingered over, while others are skimmed in the search for key words and phrases, evocative fragments and extractions. Their reading suggests that books like Drawing a Hypothesis might not always need be read in a linear or logical way, but rather are to be dipped into, allowing for detours and distractions within the event of reading itself. The lecture takes the figures of thought at the heart of Drawing a Hypothesis as points of departure for exploring and performing the correlations between thinking and drawing. Addressing the shifting and ambivalent properties of image, symbol and drawing within the publication, it asks, ‘how can these visual artefacts be comprehended?’

More images can be found here. Forthcoming launches and performance lectures will be taking place in Amsterdam, Vienna and Berlin. A video document of the work is also in development.

Book Launch: The Event

Excerpt from my essay, [...]

As part of THE EVENT in Birmingham, Karin Kihlberg and Reuben Henry will be launching their new publication alongside the opening of the group exhibition “which of them went before, and which followed after, and which were together?”. The publication (developed in response to a series of evolving solo commissions by Kihlberg Henry, produced by VIVID in collaboration with Danielle Arnaud and Artsway) includes texts by Emma Cocker, Brian Dillon and Mladen Dolar. 

Writing: Still Square to the Round Hole

I will be visiting Spike Island in November with the view to writing something about the forthcoming exhibition, Tea Back, by Łódź based artist Cezary Bodzianowski. I hope that the encounter will enable me to revisit and develop some of the concerns developed within my recent texts, Over and Over, Again and Again, (where a specifically Sisyphean model of absurdity was explored); The Yes of the No! which explored affirmative forms of dissension and refusal (such as over-enthusiasm and play) and writing developed in collaboration with Open City within whose work everyday actions are often repeated, inverted, reversed in order to reveal the presence of habitual social expectations, conventions and protocol.

Cezary Bodzianowski: Tea Back
Saturday 22 October - Sunday 27 November

Spike Island presents the first UK solo show by Łódź based artist Cezary Bodzianowski. Initially trained as a sculptor in both his native Poland and at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, Bodzianowski has increasingly turned his practice to the creation of absurdist interventions into everyday settings. Such actions include camouflaging himself as foliage while standing beneath a tree or positioning himself, legs in the air, in the empty space below a staircase. In his 2010 essay 'O Lucky Man', art critic Jan Verwoert describes these studiedly deadpan performances as ‘characterised by a certain conspicuous inconspicuousness’, bringing to mind the era of silent comedy with their permanently out of place everyman hero. These actions result in photographs or short videos, mostly taken by his wife and artistic collaborator Monika Chojnicka. At the invitation of Spike Island, Bodzianowski and Chojnicka undertake a short residency during October 2011, responding to the sites and spaces of Bristol, including Spike Island’s own history as a former tea packing factory.

Cezary Bodzianowski, Step by Step (2010). Photo: Monika Chojnicka