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.

Article: The Meletē of Live Coding

My proposed article ‘Performing Thinking in Action: The Melet
ē of Live Coding’ has been selected for development as a full paper for the forthcoming special issue of the International Journal of Performance Arts & Digital Media (Issue 12.2, October 2016), on the topic of Live Coding in Performance Arts.

A PDF of the article can be downloaded here.

Abstract: Performing Thinking in Action: The Meletē of Live Coding
This article will address live coding both as a dynamic model of ‘performing thinking’ in action, and the performing of ‘thinking-in-action’. Underpinned by the principle of performing its thinking through ‘showing the screen’, live coding involves ‘making visible’ the process of its own unfolding through the public sharing of live decision-making within improvisatory performance practice. To expose the inner workings of practice foregrounds process, emphasizing the methods and mechanics of production, the durational ‘taking place’ of something happening (live). Moreover, the making visible of thinking ‘in action’ has epistemological import, shedding light on the nature of knowledge production and mode of intelligence operative therein, generating insights into this habitually unseen or unshared aspect of creative endeavour. Live coding is arguably a hybrid - even liminal - practice, operating at the critical interstice between different disciplines, oscillating between a problem-solving modality and a problematizing, questioning, even obstacle-generating tendency. Demonstrating a multi-modal model of ‘thinking-feeling-knowing’ emerging between the lines of musical-rhythmic, linguistic-verbal, spatial-visual and numerical-logical intelligences, live coding has capacity to offer insight into the commonalities and potential for complementarity between ways of knowing emerging from the sciences and arts.

Live coding can also be conceived as the performing of ‘thinking in action’, a live and embodied navigation of various critical thresholds, affordances and restraints, where its thinking-knowing cannot be easily transmitted nor is it strictly a latent knowledge or ‘know how’ activated through action. Live coding is arguably performed in actu, where in Alan Pottage’s terms, its power “exists only en acte, or in actu, (which) is to say … that is ‘is’ only in the process of its exercise”.[i] I propose to explore live coding as a performative exercise in ‘thinking in action’, for the live navigation or negotiation of certain concepts and conditions, thresholds and limits: for working with elective rules/restraints as critical leverage; for testing the relation between receptivity and spontaneity, between the embodied and intuitive, between an immersive flow experience and split-attention, between human and machine, the known and not yet known. Moreover, live coding emerges as an experimental site for reflecting on different perceptions and possibilities of temporal experience within live performance: for attending to the threshold between the live and mediated, between present and future-present, proposing even towards a quality of atemporality or even aliveness, the temporary suspension of chronos. Against the privileging of real-time performance – and narrowing of the feedback loop between intention and execution – I advocate critical value for the gaps and lags within live coding performance as reflective intervals for building the capacity for biding one’s time and knowing when to act, for the kairotic practice of intervention and ‘invention in the middle’.[ii] Drawing on the Ancient Greek concepts of technekairos (opportune timing) and metis (cunning intelligence), I conceptualise live coding as a contemporary exercise (askesis) for performing thinking-in-action (a meletē - meditation or ‘thought experiment’), for practicing the human qualities of attention, cognitive agility and tactical intelligence, for cultivating a more critical mode of human agency and subjectivity.

About the issue
Live coding has grown as a performance method over the past decade, infiltrating diverse art forms, but with strong grounding in musical and audiovisual performance. Following a decade of music releases, festivals, journal issues, symposia, and conference tracks, with online hubs like TOPLAP and the AHRC funded Live Coding Research Network supporting both artistic and research activities within the field, the first International Conference on Live Coding will take place at the University of Leeds in July 2015. This journal issue aims to explore the new possibilities offered to artistic performance by live coding, and whether the algorithmic approach to dynamic thought and action which underlies live coding practice can shed light on aspects of more traditional approaches in the performing arts. Live coding is essentially the act of creating and modifying symbolic instructions in real-time, encompassing historical and contemporary work that goes beyond computer-based systems to include practices in improvisation, choreography, literature, live/performance art, visual arts, and theatre. The issue will explore pertinent questions of liveness and what rule-based instruction formats, such as live coding, live scoring, or live notation, offer to the performance arts; engaging with the physicality of performance, embodiment, considerations of space, machines, audience, and perceptions of the flow of time.

[i]                  Alain Pottage, ‘Power as an art of contingency: Luhmann, Deleuze, Foucault’ in Economy and Society, Volume 27, Issue 1, 1998, p.22.
[ii]                 Debra Hawhee, ‘Kairotic Encounters’, in Perspectives on Rhetorical Invention, (eds.) Janet Atwill and Janice M. Lauer, (University of Tennessee Press, 2002), p.18.

Project: Winter Lab – Radical Scores of Attention

Winter Lab II
Radical Scores of Attention Tanzquartier Vienna
7 - 18 December 2015

During the Winter Lab 2015, we – Nikolaus Gansterer, Mariella Greil and Emma Cocker worked in dialogue with Lilia Mestre and Werner Moebius, towards the production of Radical Scores of Attention generated through an exchange of practices and methods for exploring the vibrant materiality of speech, language and the reverberation of voice.

The Winter Lab involved two distinct phases of activity:
Part I - in advance of the Lab itself (from the 4 December - 8 December) the key researchers focused on developing critical content for a book chapter, Choreographic Figures: Vitality Gestures and Embodied Diagrammatics, which will be published in the forthcoming academic publication, Body Diagrams: On the Epistemic Kinetics of Gesture (eds. Irene Mittelberg and Alexander Gerner), Gesture Series, John Benjamins Publishing, Amsterdam. Drawing on the research generated through our project, Choreographic Figures: Deviations from the Line, this chapter addresses how we have practiced a shift within our collaboration from the disciplinary gestures of drawing, writing and choreography towards the aesthetic-epistemological gesture of artistic (re)searching, to give tangible articulation to the pre-gestural register of ‘vitality forces and affects’ (which we call figuring) operating before, between and beneath the more readable gestures of artistic practice. Bringing our practice-as-research into dialogue with theory, within this chapter we reflect on our own attempt to render communicable the dynamic experience of figuring within the creative process, through the production of (choreographic) figures, an expanded system of vitality gestures and embodied diagrammatics. The process of developing content for the chapter has involved extended periods of conversation for critically reflecting on our shared practice, as well as for elaborating through close reading and discussion on excerpts from different theoretical sources including Gabriel Brandstetter, Vilém Flusser, Erin Manning and Brian Massumi, Petra Sabisch, and Daniel Stern. The resulting conversational transcripts are taken as a starting point for developing the chapter (More about the chapter soon in Publications)

Part I – (12 – 18 December 2015). During the second part of the Winter Lab, the key researchers worked intensively in the studio at Tanzquartier with Lilia Mestre and Werner Moebius, to further test the experimental permutational score system that we initially developed at the end of the Summer Method Lab II (2015) with Alex Arteaga and Christine de Smedt. This permutational score was conceived as a means for bringing our three core modes of practice (A: Attention; B: Exploration; C: Conversation) into choreographic relation, a device for investigating how practices of attention and conversation impact upon artistic exploration as a means for sharpening, focusing or redirecting one’s attention. We asked: how can we use different questions, score structures, constellations and durations to put pressure on different aspects of our investigation? At this stage in the project, our score comprised nine different ‘activity fields’, each of which invited a different quality of embodied, relational engagement. Within the context of a Live Exploration (a specified time-frame for working together in the studio), these nine activity fields can be ‘called’ into play, for example, by someone calling for A1 or C3 etc. The nine activity fields comprised:
A – Attention practices: These specific ‘options’ are conceived as means for cultivating shared attention, perceptual awareness, sensory heightening or hyper-sensitizing, qualities of alertness and receptivity.
A1 - Walk: This ‘call’ invites a ‘slow walk’ together in the space (We take one step with the in breath, one step with the out breath and so on). During public presentations, we also have invited our witnesses (audience, guests) to join us in this slow walk.
A2 - Vocal: this ‘call’ involves a vocal exercise performed in relative stillness where different letters are sounded on an outbreath, in conjunction with the movement of the head – A: from left to centre; O: from right to centre: E: head looking up to centre; M: head looking down to centre. Different lengths of breath thus create moments of vocal synchronicity and divergence. 
A3 - Shake: Whilst A1 and A2 have a quality of stillness, slowness, the harmonizing of voice and action, this ‘call’ actively generates shared intensity and energy through the vibration and agitation of one’s body (within the capacity to be performed through minor or emphatic movement, or even through the activation of sound and materials)
B – Exploration: These ‘activity fields’ relate closely to what we have elsewhere called ‘Figures’. Each refers to a specific qualitative mode of aesthetic production or exploration, the properties of which we have gradually been able to differentiate, through the experience of testing and experimentation. 
B1 - Resonance and Dissonance: This specific ‘figure’ originated as an experiment in the shared act of walking together as a line — wave-like — back and forth across the studio space, performed as a live diagramming for experiencing the figuring of synchronicity as well as that of lagging, falling out of time. Additionally, we have tested a spoken notation system for making tangible the moments of felt dissonance indicated through the sibilance of a spoken ‘S’ sound, and the experience of resonance or harmony indicated with the vowel sound ‘A’. We ask: Is it possible to feel another's attention? Can I feel what you are doing? Can I become sensitized to the force of your intent? How do you approach the other, to empathetically respond? During the Winter Lab, this ‘figure’ evolved from a basic vocabulary of vertical and horizontal body gestures - walking, standing still and lying on the floor – to include the introduction of materials, which were used to amplify the moments of mirroring and synchronicity, as well as the negotiation between one another in space. The ‘figure’ of Resonance and Dissonance is one of empathetic orientation and precision, explored through heightened sensitivity to the relation of one’s body in space, in relation to others and to objects.
B2 - Ventilating language: This ‘figure’ involves the transformation of words and language through introducing qualities of lightness and aeration; the liberation of language from the regime of signification and information through focus on the reverberation of speech and voice, the act of rolling language around in the mouth as a physical practice. The starting point for this field of experimentation has been the ever-growing pile of conversational transcripts from our project, which we use as a live material for playful appropriation and reworking. Whilst some of our experiments have focused on the repetition or recurrence of certain terms within our transcribed conversations – from comparative or associative terms such as ‘like’, to questioning terms such as ‘how’ – the emphasis within this ‘figure’ is towards animating or activating language through rhythmic, relational speech acts; through the affect of breath and air: the babble of overlapping voices reading together, echoes and translations, stutters and repetitions, whispered conversations assembled together from dislocated fragments of text.
B3 - Becoming Material: Whilst ‘Ventilating Language’ focuses on the transformation of words through the qualities of lightness and aeration, this ‘figure’ attends to a transformation of matter and materiality, through processes that push and test the potential of materials, and by extension the capacity of the self: material objects conceived as support, leverage, prop, prosthesis; material tangibility applied the event of looking, thinking, reflecting. Tilted, twisted, transformed through sensuous play and the practice of ‘feeling one’s way’, exploration of a material’s resistances and tensions, the relation of gravity and balance, revelation of unexpected properties and possibilities, expanding the definition of what both a material and a body can do.
C – Conversation: These ‘activity fields’ conceive of conversation and reflection as material, site for the production of collaborative and inter-subjective ‘figures of speech’ and for initiating poetic modes of ‘sense-making’.
C1 - Key words: modeled on a game-like structure, the researchers (and their invited witnesses) generate written key words that are then used as a provocation for discussion: a key word is chosen; a given time between 1 – 4 minutes is selected, a response is invited. This process is repeated: individuals can elect to respond or chose a new word.
C2 - Roundabout: this activity involves quick and immediate reflection on the last phase of exploration, offering the possibility of illumination, insight or questions generated in relation to what has just taken place. This conversation is staged as a circle with the train of thought initiated by one person swiftly picked up by the next person.
C2 – Upwelling: Whilst ‘Roundabout’ emphasizes a continuous flow of conversation and a certain speed of exchange, this activity requires a slower level of attention, the tuning in to a vocabulary that seems to emerge or even ‘appear’ from the situation itself rather than from any singular subject.

We tested our permuational score - comprised of these nine fields of activity - through a series of Live Explorations of different duration, including a public presentation at Tanzquartier on 12 December 2015. During this Lab, we continued to work closely with documenter, Viktor Jaschke, who had previously joined us in the Summer Method Lab earlier in the year. In dialogue with Viktor, we began to further test different strategies for generating still and moving-image material from our live explorations, considering how this material might function within the context of both page-based and web-based publication or as an autonomous video documents.

Project: Weaving Codes | Coding Weaves

From 24 - 29 October I am working at FoAM Kernow in Cornwall with Alex Mclean, Ellen Harlizius-Klück and Dave Griffiths as part of the AHRC Digital Transformations Amplification research project, 'Weaving Codes – Coding Weaves’. This project asks: “What are the historical and theoretical points at which the practice of weaving and computer programming connect? What insights can be gained if we bring these activities together, through live shared experience? How do digital technologies influence our ways of making, and what new digital technologies can we create to explore their social use in creative collaboration? The research residency included a public performance exploration of weaving and live coding (see documentation below) as well as discussions about a forthcoming special issue of Textile: Journal of Cloth and Culture focusing on insights and findings from this project. My role in this project is as a critical witness/interlocutor; reflections from my observations on the project will form part of a research article for the special issue of Textile, elaborating ideas developing within a series of conference presentations around the title 'Live Coding | Weaving : Penelopean Mêtis and the Weaver-Coder's Kairos.

Conference Paper: Kairos Time: The Performativity of Timing and Timelines

I will be presenting my conference paper, 'Kairos Time: The Performativity of Timing and Timeliness … or; Between Biding One’s Time and Knowing When to Act', at the forthcoming first PARSE biennial research conference at the Faculty of Fine, Applied and Performing Arts, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, running November 4–6, which takes as its point of departure the question of "TIME." Speakers include Bruno Latour, Simon Critchley, Simonetta Carbonaro, Coco Fusco, Jalal Toufic, The Otolith Group, Flat Time House and Vermeir & Hieremans. Please follow these links for information about the conference structure and the draft timetable, featuring links to the presenters of the Conference.

Exhibition/Project: Contemporary Code – Artistic Research

City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong
30 October 2015 - 29 November 2015
An exhibition project by the University of Applied Arts Vienna in cooperation with the School of Creative Media/ City University of Hong Kong
Curated by Gerald Bast, Alexander Damianisch, Romana Schuler
In the 1960s, the term “visual research” was introduced into certain fields instead of the term “art”. The term “artistic research”, which has become increasingly relevant in recent decades, continues this development. Research characterizes an understanding that is gaining more and more validity in art while having an innovative impact. In the exhibition “CONTEMPORARY CODE – ARTISTIC RESEARCH”, artistic research is being internationally positioned as part of the new academic guiding model of the University of Applied Arts Vienna. Five years ago, President Gerald Bast co-initiated the PEEK Research Program in Austria, with the aim of promoting an interdisciplinary approach in the arts and sciences. Today, PEEK is one of Austria’s key contributions to the international developments in the field of artistic and research driven activities.

Participating projects:
Artist Philosophers. Philosophy as Arts-Based Research
Artistic Technology Research
BIORNAMETICS – Architecture Defined By Natural Patterns
Breaking the Wall – Playful Interfaces for Music Audience Participation
Choreo-graphic Figures. Deviations from the Line
E/M/D/L – European Mobile Dome Lab for Artistic Research
Eden's Edge
Empowerment in the Practice of Art and the Social Sciences 
Expansion and Development THIS BABY DOLL WILL BE A JUNKIE
GrAB – Growing As Building
Liquid Things
n.formations – An Atlas of Experiments in Materialized Information
NO ISBN – the Privatization of Publication
Quantum Cinema – A Digital Vision
Robotic Woodcraft – Performative Producers in Architecture and Design
Stitching Worlds
Transpositions: Artistic Data Exploration
Visuality & Mathematics