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.

Event: InDialogue

I will be presenting as part of the forthcoming InDialogue symposium (19 – 21 November). InDialogue is a collaborative research project that interrogates how artists and researchers use dialogue in practice. This 4th iteration of InDialogue brings together UK and International based artists and researchers to push the boundaries in thinking about the use of DIALOGUE and SITE within PRACTICE, across the disciplines of art and design. InDialogue takes place in 3 cities over 3 days:

When & Where
DAY 1: Derby, Tuesday 19th November 9.30 - 21.00 Derby Theatre Deda
DAY 2: Lincoln, Wednesday 20th November 11.00 - 18.00 Mansions of the Future 
DAY 3: Nottingham, Thursday 21st November 11.00 - 21.00 Nottingham Contemporary

InfoLab @ ExLab

After the high season in Venice, the third Research Pavilion continues in the form of an extended research presentation and concluding seminar in Helsinki, as well as a special issue of RUUKKU – Studies in Artistic Research.

Research Pavilion #3 in Venice (May 9–August 28, 2019) was a meeting place, a catalyst of emerging co-operations, and a generator of new artistic thinking. It brought together manifold topical practices of artistic research in a jointly agreed form. The participating artist researchers—operating in six different research cells—engaged in various modes of creative thinking in parallel processes of exhibiting, performing, exposing, discussing, and articulating material encounters and related forms of critical reflection. Spurred by a general ecologization of thinking, Research Pavilion #3 set the agenda for ethico-political statements on the level of shared practices. In our current decade marked by devastating ecological, economic, and social developments, potential ends of the world have become an urgent issue. We desperately need another distribution of metaphors and sensitivities, as well as novel fictions and imaginaries to address configurations of the present and to restate speculations concerning directions in the future.

In this situation, artistic research is challenged to articulate its idiosyncratic modes of thought ever more vehemently and to address the present global environmental crisis while taking historical responsibilities into account and creating sustainable interconnections between research practices and their environments—in short: to articulate research ecologies. By linking the two concepts of research and ecology—or rather, by placing these two concepts as two focal points in an ellipse—their contours and conditions could become decisive for the current situation and direction of artistic research discourse. Research Pavilion #3 not only called attention to these urgent themes, but also explicitly took the form of a process-oriented Lab for testing and negotiating ecologies of practice. The Research Pavilion is an ongoing project created and hosted by Uniarts Helsinki.

RUUKKU – Studies in Artistic Research special issue, ‘Ecologies of Practice’
A further output of Research Pavilion #3 will be a peer-reviewed artistic research publication that re-situates various dimensions of the discussions initiated and generated by the project. Editors Mika Elo, Tero Heikkinen, and Henk Slager expect to release this issue in spring 2020.

Extended Research Presentation
Research Pavilion #3 Info Lab, October 25 – November 17, Exhibition Laboratory, Helsinki
Research Pavilion #3 has transformed the series of Research Pavilion editions into an ongoing project that will continue in the form of different modules after the high season in Venice. The first follow-up module is organized in Helsinki, at University of the Arts Helsinki’s Exhibition Laboratory. Here, in the form of an interpretation of the proven info-lab model, the research cells will present the outcomes of the project and add new, perhaps reflective, performative and speculative dimensions to their research.

Concluding Seminar
October 26, from 11.00 – 16.00, Exhibition Laboratory, Helsinki
Research Pavilion #3 uses a different kind of curatorial logic. The project did not start with a well-defined narrative. Instead, the narrative was articulated and developed during a series of Assemblies in which members of the cells participated. In this concluding seminar, the research cells will critically evaluate their ecologies of practice and the cellular method of the Research Pavilion #3 project.

Talk: Being in the Midst: Writing With and Through

On 27 September 2019, I am giving an invited lecture entitled Being in the Midst: Writing With and Through at the School of Architecture in Aarhus, Denmark. Reflecting on ideas around ‘not knowing’ in relation to the practice of writing, I ask: How can we attend to writing’s emergence, where content is not already known or pre-determined in advance, but rather emerges live or synchronous to the situation that it seeks to articulate or give expression to.

“Writing is the delicate, difficult and dangerous means of succeeding in avowing the unvowable. Are we capable of it […] We go toward the best known unknown thing, where knowing and not knowing touch, where we hope we will know what is unknown. The thing that is both known and unknown, the most unknown and the best unknown, this is what we are looking for when we write. We go toward the best known unknown thing, where knowing and not knowing touch, where we hope we will know what is unknown […] Where we hope we will not be afraid of understanding the incomprehensible, facing the invisible, hearing the inaudible, thinking the unthinkable, which is of course: thinking. Thinking is trying to think the unthinkable: thinking the thinkable is not worth the effort … writing is writing what you cannot know before you have written: it is preknowing and not knowing, blindly, with words.”

Hélène Cixous, Three Steps on the Ladder of Writing. Trans. Sarah Cornell and Susan Sellers. The Wellek Library Lectures in Critical Theory, 1990. New York, p.53

Events: No Telos! book launch

BEAM EDITIONS will be presenting the publication No Telos! at a series of book fairs this Autumn including an official launch at Wiels Art Book Fair, Brussels (7 – 8 September) alongside London Art Book Fair (5 – 8 September) and at the Vienna Art Book Fair in October. No Telos is a collaborative artistic research project for exploring the critical role of uncertainty, disorientation, not knowing and open-ended activity within creative practice and during uncertain times. This artist's book comprises a series of 'scores' drawing on exercises and practices first developed and tested in Venice. The city is approached as a live laboratory for artistic research. This highly tactile edition is printed with multiple special features including screen-printed cover, multiple speciality papers, french folds, Risograph printed sections and removable inserts. No Telos! is available to buy here.

No Telos! is edited by Emma Cocker and Danica Maier, with contributions by Andrew Brown, Emma Cocker, Steve Dutton, Katja Hock, Tracy Mackenna, Danica Maier, Andy Pepper, Elle Reynolds, Derek Sprawson.