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: I AM NOT A POET: Assembling

I AM NOT A POET: Assembling was assembled and distributed by David Berridge (very small kitchen) at the Totalkunst Gallery, Edinburgh on August 21st 2011, as the conclusion of I AM NOT A POET. Participants in the show - which took place from 7-21st August - were invited to contribute an A4 sheet to a loose leaf b/w assemblage, whatever they wished to appear under the title of I AM NOT A POET.

My video Close Reading (C.O.P.V., 1950) has also been selected for inclusion in the Winter Issue of ONandOnScreen and can be viewed here. ONandOnScreen is poems + videos. Here videos are linked with poems and poems with videos in a shared space, widening the spectrum and essential strangeness of each. ONandOnScreen is a conversation between moving words and moving images, 
on and on. ONandOnScreen is edited by poet and critic Thomas Devaney .

ONandONScreen’s fifth issue WINTER 2012 is now online. 

Featuring work by Joanna Fuhrman, Jena Osman, Farid Matuk, Cara Baldwin, Wayne Kosetenbaum, Catherine Wagner, David Lehman, Kevin Killian, Matt Hart, Jared Stanley, Gabie Strong, Lytle Shaw, Leonard Gontarek, Adam Fitzgerald, Chris Girard, Mark So. With additional videos by Zoe Strauss, Emma Cocker, Brendan Lorber, and mIEKAL aND.

Video: Drawing on Drawing a Hypothesis

Nikolaus Gansterer and Emma Cocker, Drawing on Drawing a Hypothesis, video still

Using processes of cross-reading and live drawing, Nikolaus Gansterer & Emma Cocker approach the publication Drawing a Hypothesis as a reader might thumb through the 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 to be read in a linear or logical way, but rather are to be dipped into, allowing for detours and distractions within the event of diagrammatic 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?”

Drawing on Drawing a Hypothesis, Nikolaus Gansterer &Emma Cocker,
Documentation of a performance-lecture at M HKA, Antwerp

Video was commissioned and produced by M HKA
Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp, Belgium
as part of the Graphology Project curated by Edwin Carels
Camera and editing:
Patrick Elliott

With text by A. Adam, Monika Bakke, Kerstin Bartels, Marc Boeckler, P. Brandlmayr, Emma Cocker, Gerhard Dirmoser, B. F. Fisher, Nikolaus Gansterer, Hanneke Grootenboer, Karin Harrasser, Helmut Leder, Katja Mayer, Ralo Mayer, Felix de Mendelssohn, M. L. Nardo, Christian Reder, Philippe Rekacewicz, Moira Roth, Andreas Schinner, Ferdinand Schmatz, section.a, Walter Seidl, Christina Stadlbauer, Axel Stockburger, Jane Tormey

Conversation: Uitwaaien

I have been invited to participate in a dialogue with Alice, Annelies De Smet around our shared research interests in how public space is lived and performed, as part of her PhD at the Sint-Lucas School of Architecture, Brussels. Annelies De Smet is interested in “the experience and mapping of transit in public space … in the transit, obstacles, incidents, small interruptions, anecdotes, goalless-ness [...] ”. She encountered my work as part of her project ‘uitwaaien’. Uitwaaien is a Dutch word that cannot be fully translated into English: it literally means 'to walk in the wind' but in the more figurative and commonly used sense it means to take a brief break in the countryside to clear one's head. Below are some stills from her video mapping ‘instance of tongues’ which is based on previous conversations on ‘uitwaaien’. More to follow.

Alice, Annelies De Smet, 'Instance of Tongues'.

Performance: Drawing on Drawing a Hypothesis (IV)

On 2 February 2012, Nikolaus Gansterer and Emma Cocker presented the fourth iteration of their performance lecture Drawing on Drawing a Hypothesis at  (NGBK) New Society for Fine Arts, Berlin. Previous iterations of the lecture took place at (Part I) M HKA, Antwerp; (Part II) KNAW and (Part III) Kunsthalle Project Space, Vienna. The performance lecture was in conjunction with a book launch of Drawing a Hypothesis : Figures of Thought (ed. Nikolaus Gansterer, Springer, 2011) and also On the Materiality of Diagrams (Materialit├Ąt der Diagramme) by Berlin based scholar, Susanne Leeb (see below).

Images: Drawing on Drawing a Hypothesis, documentation from a performance-lecture at NGBK, Berlin, 
Nikolaus Gansterer and Emma Cocker. Photography: Simona Koch.

Event: What is Artistic Research?

My proposed paper ‘Tactical Research - Practices for Thinking (Oneself) Differently’ has been accepted as part of the strand of enquiry, ‘What is Artistic Research?’, at the Cumulus conference, School of Art and Design, Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland.

Conference Questions:
What is artistic research? What is the role of artworks in it? How is artistic research related to various traditions of combining art and research: a) Research for art, b) Research of art, c) Art for research, d) Art + theory = research? Why are (some) artists trying to combine art and research? What can be gained with it? What are the possible dangers or failures of it? What is it needed for? What is “artistic knowledge” or “art’s own knowledge”? What is included in it, what separates it from so called scientific knowledge? In what sense is art research? How should art and research be combined in the university context?

Tactical Research - Practices for Thinking (Oneself) Differently

I propose to approach the (art) research process as an affirmative practice for thinking (oneself) differently, reframing artistic research as a ‘tactic’ or ‘way of operating’ (de Certeau) 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’ (as defined by the more instrumentalized and commodified conceptualizations of research within academia) I 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 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.

Talk: Thinking Line/Performing Line

I have been invited to give a lecture at UWE, Bristol for the Department of Drawing and Applied Arts in March. 

Thinking Line/Performing Line
For artist-writer Emma Cocker, drawing is a practice capable of making visible or giving form to processes and occurrences that habitually remain hidden or unnoticed, that are experienced or felt (at the level of force or affect) rather than necessarily seen. Referring to her recent practice and the work of other artists, Cocker proposes to explore and perform the correlations between thinking and drawing alongside reflections on the performative ‘becoming line’ of drawings scored by and between bodies within the public realm. Less concerned with drawing as an observational record of the external world, Cocker reflects on drawing’s speculative and constitutive potential, and the possibility of critical subjectivity produced therein.

The lecture will draw on a series of texts that I have recently written that explore the speculative and constitutive potential of drawing including ‘Distancing the If and Then’ in Drawing a Hypothesis: Figures of Thought, (ed.) (Springer, 2011) and ‘The Restless Line, Drawing’ in Hyperdrawing: Beyond the Lines of Contemporary Art (I. B. Tauris, 2012); as well as referring to ongoing research projects/enquiries such as Site (Sight) Lines (2010>) which explores the practice of throwing a glance as a form of performative drawing capable of constituting temporary collectivities or clusters of sociability.

Talk: Between Affect and Concept

Between Affect and Concept: Dialogues between art and philosophy
6th February 2012
Nottingham Trent University

Drawing on examples from within her own research practice, Not Yet There, writer and artist Emma Cocker will discuss how she has brought art and philosophy into dialogue within her work. For Cocker, individual texts become used as testing spaces for bringing philosophy tentatively into the proximity of art practice: in Performing Stillness the act of collective stillness is explored through the prism of a Deleuzian-Spinozist philosophy; in Moves Towards the Incomprehensible Wild, Alain Badiou’s Being and Event shapes the vocabulary for discussing the criticality of the endeavour or 'enquiring' of art practice, whilst in her recent writing, Antonio Negri’s conceptualization of kairos forms the basis for considering the process of drawing in relation to the production and emergence of a critical subject.