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 - The Creative Critic: Writing As/About Practice

I have been invited to contribute to the forthcoming publication The Creative Critic: Writing As/About Practice eds. Katja Hilevaara and Emily Orley.

This edited collection brings together a range of examples of how to write about one’s own (art)work in a creative yet academically rigorous way. In a world where practice-as-research is becoming increasingly recognised and valued, artistic-researchers are always looking for ways to discuss and analyse their own work without compromising the creative drive that inspired them in the first place. The collection will comprise of sample writings (which will be introduced and contextualised) by leading researcher-practitioners and emerging artists alike, which will serve as examples for students and independent practitioners interested in writing and thinking about their own work in a creative yet critical, alternative yet theoretically rigorous way.

Writing without Writing: Conversation as Material
My proposed contribution shares and elaborates a method of ‘writing without writing’ that I have developed through a number of practice-based collaborations, where conversation is conceived as both the site and the material for the construction of inter-subjective and immanent modes of linguistic sense-making. I propose to present examples (in the form of artists’ pages) from various collaborative projects, reflecting on the different ways that conversation-as-material functions therein as a means for producing writing as/in dialogue with practice. Conversation-as-material involves the quest for a not-yet-known vocabulary emerging synchronous to the situation it seeks to articulate, formed through the co-production of a language rolled around in the mouth until it starts to yield or give. In this process, meaning does not exist prior to the event of utterance; rather, it is discovered (often retrospectively) through a dialogic process, moreover, through the transcription and distillation of recorded conversation towards an emergent poetics. 

Project: Weaving Codes | Coding Weaves

I will be working in Dusseldorf from 25 – 28 January on the Weaving Codes | Coding Weaves project along with Alex Mclean, Ellen Harlizius-Klück, Dave Griffiths and Julian Rohrhuber.

The AHRC project Weaving Codes – Coding Weaves (Alex McLean, Ellen Harlizius-Klück, Dave Griffiths, Emma Cocker) will have their second residency at the IMM, presenting an overview of the project so far and exploring the connection of weaves and codes with the students. We want to explore (tablet-)weaving and live coding together, considering both looms and computers as algorithmic environments for creative work with pattern. The connection between computing and the Jacquard loom is well explored, but we want to go deeper to investigate traditional weaving for its digital nature, including the genesis of discrete mathematics in ancient textile technologies. Thus we like to connect to an alternative account of computer programming with its roots in arts and craft.

As part of this mini-workshop/residency I will be developing ideas for a series of research articles exploring Live Coding in relation to ideas of kairos (opportune timing) and mêtis (cunning or wily intelligence), as well as reflecting on the specific temporalities of live coding.

Exhibition/Conference: The Alternative Document

Clare Thornton and I presented The Italic I as part of The Alternative Document Exhibition / Text / Publication (curated by Ang Bartram) begins February 2016

The Italic I: Between Live-ness and the Lens
The Italic I is an artistic collaboration exploring the different states of potential made possible through purposefully surrendering to a repeated fall. The fall is encountered almost exclusively through its photographic document, considered less as a pale imitation of live-ness but rather as a means through which to ‘see it again’, differently. Photography repeats the live event, yet the intent is not to reproduce or re-present, as present an alternative perspective (through the camera’s capacity for ‘seeing’ faster or slower than the eye). The live performance of falling is mediated through the lens, slowing and extending its different episodes, yet, the intent is not to capture what a fall looks like, but rather to reflect on its interiority (its ‘inner movement’ as lived experience). We seek a visual vocabulary for the invisible register of intensity or sensation within falling, the force of what-cannot-always-be-seen. Our documents make tangible an experience not actually visible in the live event; paradoxically, the document is somehow closer to the live(d) experience than the encounter with the performance itself. Moreover, the document itself is performed live, ephemeral. Staged as an ever-changing permutational flow, the cross-fading of non-consecutive images generates a virtual performance (a fall) that did not exist in reality, but which perhaps comes closer to the feeling-of-the-fall. The work explores how lens technologies might have the capacity to evoke a quality of live-ness not simply the visual document of life, addressing those expanded modalities of performance and performativity - those emergent temporalities and subjectivities - produced at the threshold where live and lens meet. A version of our paper can be read below, and the three component video work can be viewed here

Dialogue: Misstep

Rose Butler, Misstep (work in progress). Choreographer: Alexander Whitley; dancer: Natalie Allen

I have been invited into dialogue with artist Rose Butler in relation to her new work Misstep, with the view to developing new writing / collaborative artists’ publication. With reference to Edison's early film of the butterfly dance, Misstep considers shifts in non-linear temporality combined with a change in traditional point of view from one that we would associate with being grounded to one that is in flight and from above. The work comprises dance phrases choreographed by Alexander Whitley with dancer Natalie Allen, filmed in slow motion for forthcoming installation at The Lowry January 2016 and then be shown on FACT's interactive TILO screen in Liverpool.

Project: Point Line Time - drawing and the site of the page

I have been invited to contribute to POINT LINE TIME - a drawing research project led by artist and writer Tamarin Norwood. 

POINT LINE TIME is a drawing research project led by artist and writer Tamarin Norwood through a 12-month residency at Spike Island, Bristol. The residency project aims to examine the spatial and temporal attributes of the drawing process — the space and the time around the page — in terms of their relationship to the object of drawing, the subject or body doing the drawing, and the body of marks left on the page. This research will develop through studio-based experiments that engage with the expanded field of drawing, moving beyond the pencil and the page towards towards three-dimensional and four-dimensional reinterpretations of the point of contact between drawing instrument and support. Implicit in this studio-based approach to research is a belief that genuinely new insight can be reached by means of a "blind" and "groping" (Derrida 1990) movement through a breadth of focused activity, each point of experimentation leading to the next without a given end in sight. This attitude of (knowing?) "not-knowingness" (Fisher and Fortnum 2013) has much in common with the particular myopic or groping 'eye' of the pencil lead, which is continually in movement at the point of drawing and is too close to the page to 'see' the configuration of marks it leaves on the surface. Writing and linguistic representation form a substantial component of the project: the diverse ways in which writing creates, describes and represents exist in counterpoint to the diverse ways in which drawing creates, describes and represents. Likewise as the pencil gropes along the surface of the page in drawing so too, quite differently, does the pen grope along the surface of the page in writing. These near-parallels will inform the structure of the residency, as material experiments seek near-equivalence in textual experiments, and as the project as a whole informs the writing of an extended text exploring the surface of the page in drawing and writing. Studio research will take place in dialogue with an interdisciplinary network of researchers and practitioners spanning the fields of sign language, choreography, poetry, geography, additivism, acoustics and composition, each field bringing a new inflection to the space and time around the page. Details of contributors, and how aspects of our conversations and collaborations will be made public, are here. Contributors include Morehshin Allahyari, Emma Cocker, Antonia Barnett-McIntosh, Martina Conti, Daniela Cascella, Kyra Pollitt, Tom Chivers, Daniel Rourke