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.

Conference: How to Do Things with Art

A conference paper proposal Choreo-graphic Figures: The Notion >< Notation of Figuring (developed in collaboration with Nikolaus Gansterer and Mariella Greil as part of the project Choreo-graphic Figures: Deviations from the Line) has been accepted for inclusion in the forthcoming conference, How to Do Things with Art, 11 - 13 November 2015, Aarlborg, Denmark.

About the conference: This conference argues that we must account for the intensity of art, otherwise we can only explain part of our aesthetic experience. This argument is found in critics as diverse as Brian Massumi, Charles Altieri, and Sianne Ngai. Philosophers such as Alfred North Whitehead, Henri Bergson, and Steven Shaviro have argued that much of our perception is not cognitive but intuitive; we connect to the world through our senses. The conference is part of a debate on how to understand our sensory perception of art as part of a larger process. Where most aesthetic and cultural research has focused on matters of meaning, signification, and hermeneutics, this conference asks questions of aisthesis, sensation, and feeling. More than representation, more than form, art is production. New materialisms, affect theories, performativity theories, and actor-network-theories have all shown that the artwork is never passive, never inert. Art produces sensations, new modes of being, new knowledges, and new feelings. Not a matter of rejecting earlier findings, we are simply trying to explore the 'other side' of the experience of art. Cognition and feeling are not distinct but articulated together; their relation changes depending on the specific artwork.

By exploring the sensory experience of art, we can also understand the intersection of art, culture, and politics in new ways. Art produces new subject positions and becomes a doorway to new experiences, new sensations, and new modes of thought. In this way, art expands our world, becoming a motor for cultural and political manifestations. A process-oriented approach to art extends current approaches, revealing that thought, act, and creativity cannot be separated. Instead of observing a distinction between work and subject, process-oriented approaches instead turn to individuation as the mode of becoming, insisting that we are always more than one and art adds to this more than one. Key note speakers: Erin Manning, University Research Chair at Concordia University, Canada; Brian Massumi, Professor at Université de Montréal, Canada; Frederik Tygstrup, Professor at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. 

Our abstract for the conference can be read below. 

Publication: On An/Notations

‘Notion of Notation > < Notation of Notion’, an article/artists’ pages produced in collaboration with Nikolaus Gansterer and Mariella Greil has been accepted for inclusion in a forthcoming issue of Performance Research, Vol. 20, Issue 6, ‘On An/Notations’, eds. Scott deLahunta, Kim Vincs and Sarah Whatley. Publication date: 31 December 2015.

About the issue: ‘On An/notations’ considers the potential of the surface of the page, alongside other surfaces, including the screen, as sites for engaging with and thinking through performance ideas and processes. An annotation at its simplest level is adding information to information using some kind of mark-up language or tools. This issue will seek to engage projects using a wide range of approaches alongside critical reflection to draw out and make explicit research and insights from within the entanglement of sensing, feeling and thinking that is the body-based practitioner's research field.

Event: Method Lab opening

I am currently working in Vienna with Nikolaus Gansterer and Mariella Greil on the project Choreo-graphic Figures: Deviations from the Line. Our Method Lab II focuses on the sharing of practice and working methods around the notation of notion and the materiality of language. Throughout July and August, we (the key researchers) have been working closely with our invited ‘sputniks’ (Alex Arteaga, Christine de Smedt and Lilia Mestre) and critical guests (Werner Moebius and Joerg Piringer) towards the development of Radical Scores of Attention - an experimental working process combining three interrelated modes of practice: (A) Practices of attention; (B) Live artistic exploration; (C) Practices of conversation. On Monday 10 August we host a public event for testing an experimental score system which brings these three different modes of practice into relation. Specifically, we propose to test the way in which practices of attention and conversation impact upon artistic exploration, as a means for sharpening, focusing or redirecting one’s attention.

10 August 2015, 15:00 – 19:00
Method Lab Opening II at the residency laboratory: AIL, Franz-Josefs-Kai 3, Vienna, Austria
15.00 > The Method Lab will be open to the public, and the key researchers will be available to informally discuss the project, Choreo-graphic Figures. Deviations from the Line
16.00 > Live Exploration. The Live Exploration will be followed by an opportunity for discussion around the issues and questions emerging within the Method Lab.

Exhibition: Total Recall (TEXTfestschrift festival)

Documentation of installation and exhibition (top images) by curator Philip Davenport.

My work Close Reading (C+ D) (see below) was included as part of a new pop-up installation (curated by derek beaulieu and Phil Davenport) in Bury Art Museum of works celebrating 10 years of the Text Festival (and 20 years of curating by Tony Trehy) until September.  TOTAL RECALL is a guerilla makeover, an A4 invasion of reading into the larger narrative of looking. Unlike the street signs outside, these are not corporate instructions or sales pitches, they are antidotes. Walls, vitrine, archival box — nary  a “book” to be found, but a heap of language left in memory. TOTAL RECALL includes work by local, national and international text - based artists and poets: angela rawlings, Barrie Tullett, Bob Grenier, Carolyn Thompson, Cecilie Bjørgås Jordheim, Darren Marsh, derek beaulieu, Emma Cocker, Eric Zboya, Erica Baum, Jaap Blonk, James Davies, Jayne Dyer, Jesse Glass, Karri Kokko, Kristen Mueller, Lawrence Weiner, Leanne Bridgewater, Liz Collini, Lucy Harvest Clarke, Marco Giovenale, Márton Koppány, Matt Dalby, Mike Chavez-Dawson, Paula Claire, Penny Anderson, Peter Jaeger, Phil Davenport, Rachel Defay-Liautard, Ron Silliman, Satu Kaikkonen, Sarah Sanders, Seekers of Lice, Steve Emmerson, Steve Giasson, Tom Jenks, and Tony Lopez. The invitation was to submit an A4 work which in some way addressed the construction of memory. My work folds together close readings of the writing of Deleuze and Cixous.

Emma Cocker, Close Reading (C+ D), produced for Total Recall (TEXTfestschrift festival)

Works will also be included in The Text Art Archive, based at Bury Art Museum, which was established in March 2013 in conjunction with Bury Archives Service and the Centre for Poetics at Birkbeck University of London with the intention of documenting, securing and making easily available information on the history and practice of Text Art (sometime referred to as Visual Language Art).