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.

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.