Reading Group – May 2018

On 23 May 2018, we explored the relation between reading and slowness through an experimental, experiential approach. Taking its point of departure from Michelle Boulous Walker’s Slow Philosophy: Reading Against the Institution and Georges Perec’s ‘Reading: A Socio-physiological Outline’, this reading group session, led by Emma Cocker, considered: What might a ‘critical poetic’ mode of reading look/feel like? What kinds of (alternative) knowledge or ‘sense making’ are produced through experimental practices of reading?

Different methods of reading can generate different registers of affect; there is scope for testing experimental tactics. Texts do not always need to be read in a linear or logical way, but rather can be dipped into, allowing for detours and distractions. A single sentence might open in one book, close in another. Certain sections are lingered over, whilst others skimmed past. Reading is not bound by the chronology of a text’s unfolding. Attention can be activated mid-sentence or half way down a page. Words are sonorous as much as signifying units; the soundness of a text tested by tongue and lips as much as by the mind. Certain language must be rolled in the mouth before it can be fully digested. Texts resonate at different frequencies according to their enunciation. New meanings are revealed by changed inflection, in the pauses and durations breathed between the words.  (Emma Cocker, fragments from ‘Reading Towards Becoming Causal’, in Reading/Feeling: Affect Reader, If I Can’t Dance … 2013)

Emma Cocker is a writer-artist based in Sheffield and Associate Professor in Fine Art at Nottingham Trent University. Operating under the title Not Yet There, her mode of working unfolds restlessly along the threshold between writing/art, including experimental, performative and collaborative approaches to producing texts parallel to and as art practice. Cocker’s recent writing has been published in Failure, 2010; On Not Knowing: How Artists Think, 2013; Choreo-graphic Figures: Deviations from the Line, 2017; The Creative Critic: Writing as/about Practice, 2018, and as a solo collection entitled The Yes of the No, 2016.

(Image: from the publication, Choreo-graphic Figures: Deviations of the Line, 2017)