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.

Screening: I AM NOT A POET

My short video, Close Reading (C. O. P. V, 1950) is going to be screened as part of I AM NOT A POET: A FESTIVAL AT THE TOTALKUNST GALLERY, EDINBURGH (7-21st AUGUST 2011). It is also being screened online here.

VerySmallKitchen and theTotalkunst Gallery, Edinburgh, present I AM NOT A POET, a 2 week festival exploring connections of language, writing and art practice. Beginning with conversations and lectures as part of AN EDINBURGH ZINE & SMALL PRESS FAIR on 7th August, I AM NOT A POET presents a series of short one - three day exhibitions, alongside conversations, lectures, performances, publications, and screenings … Artists include: Pete Cant, Magdalen Chua, Patrick Coyle, Alex Eisenberg, Jennie Guy, Colin Herd, Shandra Lamaute, Michelle Letowska, Marit Muenzberg, nick e-melville, Tamarin Norwood, Mary Paterson, Gerry Smith, seekers of lice. Curated by David Berridge (VerySmallKitchen) and Mirja Koponen (Totalkunst Gallery)

Close Reading (C.O.P.V, 1950)

Close Reading (C.O.P.V, 1950) is part of an ongoing series which investigates the practice of close reading or of an ‘explication de texte’. Here, close reading is not understood as the critical attention paid to the meaning of words themselves as signs, but is instead interested in those meanings produced by looking at words ‘close up’, through a process of visual magnification or close visual attention. The work will also be screened online, but in the meantime can be viewed below.

Details: Emma Cocker, Close Reading (C.O.P.V, 1950)

Details: Emma Cocker, Close Reading (C.O.P.V, 1950)

Project: L’ultima Cena

I have been invited to visit and respond to an exhibition/project entitled L’ultima cena, taking place at the Refettorio di San Michele in Pescia, Italy (3-4 September). L’ultima cena is a project initiated by an invitation issued to 13 artists (including Brigid McLeer with whom I have worked before) to make sited work in response to the little known and rarely seen ‘Last Supper’ fresco by Fieravante Sansoni (1625) located in the former convent refectory, the Refettorio di San Michele in Pescia. It is anticipated that this context will provide a foil against which to explore slippages of representation, time and reality occurring both within the fresco, through its relationship to an ‘original’, and also to the site itself. Starting points for exploration are likely to include ideas around 'being with' and empathy; relations between individual and collective identity; the affective potentiality of everyday situations; a collapsing of the binary relation of fidelity and betrayal. More to follow soon.

Project: Summer Lodge

Over the last few weeks I have been involved in the Summer Lodge at Nottingham Trent University. For ten days in July the Fine Art studios and workshops of Nottingham Trent University played host to a gathering of thirty diverse artists. This group comprising of current staff, student interns, and artists working in the city of Nottingham and beyond, initiated new dialogues and critical exchange through engaging together in a period of sustained studio/workshop practice. The Summer Lodge was intended as an opportunity to think through making by being able to work for a while without many of the usual constraints and distractions. As part of the Summer Lodge I have been thinking more about the potential of residency-based approaches to making work which I hope to explore further over the coming years. 

The Summer Lodge also involved a one-day symposium entitled, The SpeculationOutline: "In the current economic and political climate, the old cliché rings true: the only certainty is that there is no certainty. In such times, existing models and familiar territories can no longer be relied upon, a situation that is especially pressing within the fields of art practice and research, given government prioritization of STEM subjects within universities and the decrease in arts funding outside academia. Whilst it is all to easy to become despondent in such gloomy times, by contrast the Visual Arts research area will seek to speculate upon new directions and alternative possibilities, exploring a troubling grey area, a critical terrain vague which might disturb the smooth landscape of what is already named and known. This work develops out of an already extant research cluster in Visual Arts, which has hitherto focused upon ideas of irresolution, doubt, deferral, uncertainty to explore the potential of remaining ‘Still Unresolved’, but is intended to help us shape the future direction/s of Visual Arts research, and to further develop conversations, collaborations and other projects with colleagues across the School of Art and Design and beyond, as these ideas intersect with other disciplines."

Presenters: Will Bowden (Associate Professor of Roman Archaeology, Nottingham University), Emma Cocker (Artist, Writer and Senior Lecturer NTU), Dr. Nick Flynn (Programme Leader Applied Criminology, Community and Criminal Justice Division De Montfort University) Alice Gale-Feeny (Intern and 3rd Yr Fine Art student NTU), Rebecca Gamble (Artist and Research Student NTU) Dr. Jonathan Gilhooly (Brighton Based Artist and educator) Prof. Julian Henderson (Professor of Archaeological Science, University of Nottingham), Sally O’Reilly (Writer), John Plowman (Artist, Curator and Co-director Beacon Art Project), Tim Rundle (Design Trend Forecaster, Principal Lecturer, Programme Leader Fashion Marketing Management & Communication), Niki Russell (Nottingham based Artist/Producer and member of REACTOR), Nicola Streeten (Illustrator, co-director of Laydeez do Comics and co-director of Beacon Art Project)

Publication: Nature (Documents of Contemporary Art Series)

Heather and Ivan Morison, installation shot from Earthwalker at Danielle Arnaud Gallery
My short reflection on the exhibition Earthwalker by Heather and Ivan Morison (from 2007, originally published on interface, a-n) has been selected for the forthcoming publication, Nature (Documents of Contemporary Art series, Whitechapel/MIT, 2012) edited by Jeffrey Kastner. 

About the publication

Nature is one of a series documenting major themes and ideas in contemporary art.
Nature, as both subject and object, has repeatedly been rejected and reclaimed by artists over the last half century. With the dislocation of disciplinary boundaries in visual culture, art that is engaged with nature has also forged connections with a new range of scientific, historical and philosophical ideas. Developing technologies make our interventions into natural systems both increasingly refined and profound. And advances in biological and telecommunication technology continually modify the way we ‘present’ ourselves. So too are artistic representations of nature (human and otherwise) being transformed.  
This anthology addresses these issues by considering how the rise of transdisciplinary practices in the postwar era allowed for new kinds of artistic engagement with nature. These include the post-minimalist inscriptions associated with Land art; environmentally engaged practices designed to propose novel forms of stewardship; and more recent projects concerned with relationships between the most subtle and minute components of life and the large-scale appearance of the world. These problematize and unsettle the most basic operations of ‘natural’ personhood and identity.
Including a wide range of writings by and about artists, juxtaposed with influential texts from diverse theoretical bases, this collection provides an overview of the eclectic scientific and philosophical sources that inform contemporary art’s investigations of nature. 
Writers and artists surveyed include: Giorgio Agamben, Jesse Ashlock, Michael Auping, Aziz + Cucher, Gaston Bachelard, Brandon Ballengée, Gregory Bateson, Jane Bennett, Henri Bergson, Joseph Beuys, Claire Bishop, Suzaan Boettger, Roger Caillois, Oron Catts, Mel Chin, Emma Cocker, Steven Connor, Lynne Cooke, Critical Art Ensemble, Walter De Maria, Jacques Derrida, herman de vries, Mark Dion, Vilém Flusser, George Gessert, Oliver Grau, Tim Griffin, Félix Guattari, Hans Haacke, Henrik Håkansson, Peter Halley, Donna Haraway, Helen & Newton Harrison, David Harvey, Pierre Huyghe, Eduardo Kac, Bruno Latour, Pamela M. Lee, Jean-François Lyotard, Tom McDonough, Denise Markonish, Mary Mattingly, Ana Mendieta, Laurent Mignonneau, Jacques Monod, Robert Morris, Arne Naess, Thomas Nagel, Trevor Paglen, Jane Prophet, Ingeborg Reichle, Alexis Rockman, Nikolas Rose, Andrew Ross, Tomás Saraceno, Mark Sheerin, Bonnie Sherk, Robert Smithson, Christa Sommerer, Alan Sonfist, Stelarc, Paul Tebbs, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Vladimir Vernadsky, Victoria Vesna, Carl Zimmer, Andrea Zittel and Ionat Zurr.

Jeffrey Kastner is a New York-based writer and critic, and senior editor of Cabinet. Formerly senior editor of ARTnews, he has written extensively on contemporary art in numerous catalogues and journals. His books include Land and Environmental Art (1998).