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Posts Tagged ‘Emma Cocker’

I AM NOT A POET: EMMA COCKER’S CLOSE READING (C.O.P.V, 1950)

In Uncategorized on August 9, 2011 at 8:37 pm

 

As part of I AM NOT A POET, VerySmallKitchen will feature online a number of films from its screening programme. The full festival of films is here.  This first online screening presents work by Emma Cocker. Emma writes:

Close Reading (C.O.P.V, 1950) is part of an ongoing series which investigates the practice of close reading or of an ‘explication de texte’. Here, close reading is not understood as the critical attention paid to the meaning of words themselves as signs, but is instead interested in those meanings produced by looking at words ‘close up’, through a process of visual magnification or close visual attention. Drawing on the Latin origins of the word explicare (as in explication de texte) which means to unfold, to fold out or set forth, within Cocker’s close reading words appear shifting and unstable, restless and unwilling to be stilled. The work looks towards the threshold where writing or text collapses into its component parts (ink and page); the point where the sense or legibility of a word is rendered illegible or nonsensical the closer it is attended to, as writing slips towards image.

 

 

I saw an early part of the work presented as part of Emma’s Close Reading/ Open Reading, a contribution to Writing (the) Space, at The Wild Pansy Press Project Space, Leeds on May 19th.

On that occasion Emma observed how a  “starting point or point of provocation” had been the following sentence from Olson’s 1950 poetics Projective Verse: “If I hammer, if I recall in, and keep calling in, the breath, the breathing as distinguished from the hearing, it is for cause, it is to insist upon a part that breath plays in verse.” She continued:

Close Reading / Open Reading investigates the capacity of methods of close attention for producing uncertainty, indeterminacy and formlessness rather than fixing or clarifying any single, stable meaning, where paradoxically perhaps, the more something becomes scrutinized the less it becomes known. Within my practice, processes of extraction, fragmentation, listing, footnoting and cross-referencing become used for generating ‘openings’ rather than conclusions, for appearing purposeful whilst remaining without clear or discernible intent…

 

 

… I envisage future experiments emerging from this presentations exploring the relationship between the practices of flitting and lingering (over a text)…

More of Emma’s work is here. Notes on Emma’s FIELD PROPOSALS for the  ART WRITING FIELD STATION are here.

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ART WRITING FIELD NOTES (3): EMMA COCKER

In Uncategorized on April 16, 2010 at 11:14 am

This is the final set of notes from contributers to the ART WRITING FIELD STATION in Leeds on March 27th 2010. It first appeared on Emma Cocker’s Not Yet There blog, which is prefaced by the following methodological statement: 

Operating under the title ‘Not Yet There’, my practice is characterised by a mode of restlessness – or wandering – that functions as both the subject of and motivation for my enquiries. Writing/text-based work (often developed dialogically through conversations with other artists) interrogates the critical and creative potential within experiences or conditions such as failure, doubt, deferral, uncertainty, boredom, hesitation, indecision, immobility & inconsistency, by exploring models of practice – and subjectivity – which resist or refuse the pressure of a single or stable position by remaining willfully unresolved. I am interested in exploring the ‘thinking space’ of practice by shifting attention from the notion of the ‘deliberate’ towards the process of ‘deliberation’; by insisting that purpose or meaning is not synonymous with the notion of achieving a ‘goal’.

Emma’s field notes are below. Notes by Rachel Lois Clapham and Mary Paterson are here and here

A hard copy edition of this text work will shortly be published. The project will be developed for VSK’s exhibition at The Pigeon Wing in September. 

FIELD PROPOSALS

In terms of responding to the David Berridge’s proposition of ‘Field Station’  I have attempted to map a field and propose it as a field station; the text/objects that I presented are both reflective and prospective, (like Breton’s ‘double headed-arrow’) they mark the territory of what has come before but also suggest a possible future use. 

I wanted to propose a series of maps as a response to the idea of fieldfield-maps: My hope is to use these ‘field-maps’ to help me to better understand what might constitute the ‘field’ of my own practice, and the method of my own writing, which I am increasingly coming to see as a restless practice, or a practice that uses the idea of restlessness as itsmethod. Thinking through field-station has forced me to think about ‘the field’ in terms of the architecture of my own art-writing practice, thinking about architecture as:

*  A spatial structure or model (what is its shape)

* Verb: The action or process of building (of assemblage) (how is it produced, what is it methods). Field as an act or of doing something: a sphere of activity, to put into action, a complex of forces that serve as causative agents in human behaviour.

*  Network: the way components fit together (how are connections made and re-made)

The maps correspond to:

* A mapping or rhizomatic field (the network of ideas, practice, bodies – field ascommunity). An attempt to articulate or map or chart or diagram a sense of my writing practice, which operates under the title, Not Yet There. The tension between or field created between different practices (art/encyclopedia; ‘knowing’/knowledge; the gallery/the academy).

Field Station – what constitutes a (art-writing) studio and how can this be made portable or mobile or taken to the ‘field’. Studio as constituted by a set of practices (produced); by the physical surroundings (belongings) and by what it affords (thinking space). NB) In order to build in spaces that are more speculative you have to build in spaces that are more speculative. Mind-mapping habitually presupposes a starting point, a point of original. Here my attempt is to remove the need for a fixed or determined start, or rather to replace the propositional of the conventional starting point with the notion of a potential Macguffin.

Open Field (as open space – thinking space)  – a template, work and tool. An imaginative proposition and an operational model. An attempt to articulate or map or chart or diagram the idea of the ‘field’ as open space, a space of thinking, a germinal terrain. Mapping the process of thinking, without this being about what that thinking is about; a mapping of a process and the producing of a map that corresponds to that process.

* An operational model: using the ‘field’ model as a device through which to explore my field of art-writing practice. A proposition of an essay as map, the essay as a network or proposed community of ideas. The field as essay.  Visual essaying (essay as rhizome). An attempt to use this open field as a device to lay down (or seed or plant) a few specific ideas. A model to be used: what is the field of this event?

Thinking through field:

* Clearing: an expanse of open or cleared ground

* Event: the area in which (field) events are held

* Space of Contestation: a battleground.

* Force/Agency: (physics) the influence of some agent, as electricity or gravitation, considered as existing at all points in space and   defined by the force it would exert on an object placed at any point in space.

 * Horizon: (optics) the entire angular expanse visible through an optical instrument at a given time or (photography) the area of a subject that is taken in by a lens at a particular diaphragm opening.

* Interconnectedness: (psychology) the total complex of interdependent factors within which a psychological event occurs and is perceived as occurring.

* Record: (in a punch card) any number of columns regularly used for recording the same information

* Playing the field – to vary one’s activities, a kind of promiscuous practice, “avoid commitment” – a restlessness

* Flat land – a non-hierarchical playing field

* Skilfulness: To respond to

* Incisive: the site of a surgical operation

* Classification: a data structure

ART WRITING FIELD STATION: NOTES ON WRITING LIVE

In Uncategorized on April 3, 2010 at 7:51 pm


The above text is Rachel Lois Clapham’s score for her project of writing live throughout  ART WRITING FIELD STATION in Leeds on March 27 2010 (see a set of preparatory notes by RL on this project here  and a report after the event here).

Marianne Holm Hansen, Pneumatic Poem (thoughts on Art Writing Field Station), 2010

 

A DESCRIPTION: During presentations by myself, Mary Paterson (performed and interpreted by Simon Zimmerman) and Emma Cocker, Rachel Lois wrote in black marker pen on square pieces of paper, constructing a 3 x 3 grid of these squares. Sometimes new blank squares were placed on top of old, or squares were removed, placed on the floor, and replaced.  

As the last presentation ended, RL removed her last piece of paper from the wall, as if our discussion had returned us to a white wall from which we began, and announced she had finished.

A CONTEXT: This was the second attempt to write live during an ART WRITING FIELD STATION, following on from Marianne Holm Hansen’s work in London. Like Marianne’s project – more information about which is here – the actual act of writing live is a performance both visible and invisible.

Absorbed in discussions, I looked up every so often to see what was happening (as well as the activity on the wall, the grid was filmed and projected). Whilst all of Marianne’s writing figured on a single sheet of piece of paper that was on the wall throughout, RL’s adding and removal of sheets made the whole more illusive. I only ever got a snapshot at different times of what was an ongoing flow, and the processes of editing and decision making remained inaccessible to my piecemeal attention.

Also unlike Marianne’s, RL’s work was principally non-verbal – her grid of squares contained a series of graphic, gestural markings, and if there was an alphabet or lexicon it was one of signs, boxes, brackets, and lines, with arrows indicating movement into and out of both drawn spaces and those of paper, wall and room.

Talks and discussions at the table – one end of which openned onto to RL’s workspace – were being translated into markings, both representing it and working it into something else, accepting its informational quality and its opacity.  When I looked across, the process seemed to be a thoughtful, meditative one, rather than a Jackson Pollock like storm of marker pen scratchings. A lot of time, too, of looking and considering, of (re-)moving the paper, and these as much part of the writing as the writing. 

A PROBLEM OF DEFINITION: As with Marianne’s work, the question of what to call this activity was  problematic. Because of RL’s previous work, I tended to settle on the phrase “writing live.” Because of the gestural quality, I was less prone to use the  phrase “minute taking” – “emotional minute taking” in Marianne’s phrase. 

The frame of camera and careful choreography suggested it was a “performance” but this was definition was slightly challenged by the private nature of the work. Maybe it was better to think of this – to pick up on some topics in Emma Cocker’s presentation – as a “writer’s studio” negotiating a new position of exposure.

Both images: Art Writing Field Station, Patrick Lane Studio's, Leeds, 27 March 2010. Photo: Emma Cocker

 

CONCERNING AFTER (TEXT &) IMAGE:  My own understanding of what it meant to have someone writing live throughout the ART WRITING FIELD STATION events was originally that  it would offer a summation of each field station as a whole.

Whilst discussions would focus on a series of individual presentations, the live writing would capture a version of what emerged from all those discussions. A field recording. How did this relate to what has actually happened? 

Once again, as soon as the discussions in Leeds finished, RL’s texts demonstrated a tension between their own materiality – a new found set of resonances and associations within the system of these texts as an art work in their own right  – and any relation to the event within which it  had been (was still) occurring.

RL offered spoken commentary on a number of images, connecting back to specific talks and moments, and revealing the close connection of gesture to idea. I wondered how such processes were one way, the resultant markings unlikely to lead back to the original ideas without a guide. 

I also want to think of these live writings as generative, as scripts and scores for future events.  RL’s drawings seemed to function as a series of maps of rooms, conceptual and actual, proposals for actual and ideational movements within those spaces. Sometimes the spaces themselves were defined: four solid black marker pen walls surrounding. Sometime the movement itself had a quality of absorption which meant there was no immediate awareness of frame or container. This could be the starting point for an exhibition or for a kind of art writing field station architecture

A BROADER RESONANCE: The gestural nature of RL’s response suggested several connections. I saw Matt Mullican lecture at the ICA earlier this year. Mullican talked of scrawls and drawings, and how, through meditation techniques, he inhabited and journeyed into his drawings, exploring the landscapes they contained.

Matt Mullican, Galerie Micheline Szwajcer, Antwerpen, 13 Mar -3 May 2008

 

For Mullican this inhabitation was the only way to understand the true dimensions of what he had drawn – a small dot on the page might  turn out, through imaginative journeying-dreaming, to be a gaping chasm hundreds of miles wide that was the entrance to hell.

Mullican also demonstrated how he had stayed with such images and scrawls over long periods of time, developing them into fleshed out cosmologies, architectural models, and installations. 

WE ARE ALL WRITING LIVE: Of course,it would be wrong to think of RL’s as the only “live writing” going on, in the same way as all texts are “visual” orchestrations, not just those we might choose to label “visual poetry.”

Emma Cocker’s field maps – diagrams on large sheets on graph paper of her writing practice – gave way to a participatory scripting where Simon pointed out particular words, prompting Emma to read particular texts (see Emma’s notes for this project here).

Although Emma read from a set of footnotes devised alongside the diagram, the process revealed how “live footnoting” might work well as a place where different texts were brought alongside the map, with each live reading being a chance to set out a new set of relations of word and map to footnote. 

Mary Paterson’s text – which was read by Simon Zimmerman – explored the workings of memory, particularly as it relates to her work writing about performance (and as writer in residence for the Live Art Development Agency) . Her text left spaces for Simon to introduce his own thought and memories into the text.

This adding of a “live” layer to the text seemed to scramble the text:  upsetting any linear flow and argument. The “live” presence – as  Simon considered what stories to tell when prompted by the script – contrasted with the reflective tone of Mary’s own words, and when Simon went back to the script it was hard to shift back to the argument he had been unfolding before his invited interruption.

This suggested how live writing could involve a number of forms of presence, shifting between and around these different emotional and textual registers in ways both scripted and beyond anticipation.

FIVE WRITE LIVE AT THE PIGEON WING: Finally, I was thinking about all these spaces in regard to The Pigeon Wing space, where VerySmallKitchen will be in residence throughout September. I imagined what it meant for five writers to be writing live, each with their own methods and tools, not in relation to an art work, but as a performance as itself, in relation to the space and each other, as a starting point towards an exhibition.

More on how this particular project unfolds will be on this site in the coming months. For the moment I am imagining how five people could write live here: