Above are images from the launch event that I organised at Site Gallery for the publication Reading/Feeling, a new reader that considers the meaning of affect in theory and artistic practice, programmed in conjunction with artist Anna Barham’s residency Suppose I Call a Man a Horse, or a Horse a Man? The publication Reading/Feeling draws together a selection of texts by theoreticians, artists and curators that were read in If I Can’t Dance, I Don’t Want to be Part of Your Revolution’s reading groups taking place in Amsterdam, Sheffield and Toronto over the past two years, alongside newly commissioned essays from Tanja Baudoin, Emma Cocker, and Jacob Korczynski and contributions by reading group members including Stephen Bowler, Alison J Carr, Belen Cerezo, Victoria Gray, Linda Kemp, Hester Reeve and Julie Swallow. The Sheffield reading group took place at Site Gallery in dialogue with the exhibition Of All Possible Things by Jeremiah Day, who also contributed to the Reading/Feeling publication. Reading/Feeling was launched at Site Gallery with a series of readings and performance actions by members of the Sheffield reading group including myself, Hester Reeve, Allie Carr and Linda Kemp, alongside a performance reading by Anna Barham.
- emma cocker
- 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.
"Vertigo looms, on the way to syncope. No longer the disordered vertigo of the first discomfort, not the ground falling away. It is a voluntary vertigo, radiating control". Catherine Clément, Syncope: The Philosophy of Rapture.
"A diagonal helps to temper the excessiveness of the One". Luce Irigaray, Speculum of the Other Woman
The Italic I is a new body of work and ideas forming part of Tacturiency, my collaboration with Clare Thornton. Working in collaboration, Cocker + Thornton explore the different states of potential made possible through voluntarily surrendering to the event of a repeated fall. The studio is approached as a gymnasium, a training space for rehearsing, isolating and interrogating distinct moments or stages within falling. No longer considered an event to be avoided or protected against, falling is apprehended willfully and consciously as an exercise of both mind and body, tested out in physical and cognitive terms. By repeatedly staging a series of falls, Cocker + Thornton attempt to slow and extend the duration of falling in order to suspend and elaborate upon its discrete phases or scenes:
* Softening the Ground – setting up the conditions
* Preparing to Fall – warming and flexing
* Entering the Arc – trust, twist, torque
* A Commitment Made – working against impulse
* Letting Go – a liquid state
* Voluntary Vertigo – ilinx, inclination
* Becoming Diagonal – the italic i
* Touching Limits – tilt towards (the other)
* Ecstatic Impotency – the jouissance of impuissance
* Folding of Attention – heightened interiority
* Embodiment/Disembodiment – mind body partition
* Breathless – ventilating the idea
* Formless – horizontality
* Voluptuous Recovery – return, yet charged
* Recalibrate … Loop – desire to repeat
Through practice-based enquiry, Cocker + Thornton reflect on the capacity of voluntary falling for inoculating the body to the imagined threat of the fall and the experience of uncertainty and disorientation therein. Falling is instead considered as a kairotic site (of opportunity) for producing the vertiginous pleasure of unexpected forms of embodied knowledge and augmented subjectivity, activated in and through active inhabitation of the perceived passivity and impotency often associated with the fall.